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Taking sides: Which music video best steals from famous art?

katy perryKaty Perry: California gurl, art lover.

Vampire Weekend recently sang about a "Richard Serra skatepark" but we've yet to see a video featuring the band performing in a skatepark designed by sculptor Richard Serra. Hop to it, dudes.

Still, plenty of pop stars are cribbing looks/feels/concepts from famous art these days -- perhaps most notably, Katy Perry with her eye-popping new clip for "California Gurls." When we first saw the video, we thought that Perry had shamelessly ripped-off painter Will Cotton. Then we learned that Cotton was actually hired as the video's artistic director. (We hope he didn't come up with the whipped cream idea at the end. Too much!)

For our weekly Taking sides post, Click Track's contributors each picked their favorite Music Video That Jacked Its Concept From Something I Learned About in My Undergrad Survey of Western Art Course - M.V.T.J.I.C.F.S.I.L.A.I.M.U.S.O.W.A.C. for short.

Check out the videos after the jump.

David Malitz: Beck's video for "Round the Bend" is a hypnotic creation by the late video artist Jeremy Blake. His trademark aesthetic is on full display - hallucinatory images full of neon colors slowly burn and fade into each other. Blake also collaborated with another one of my favorites, David Berman of the Silver Jews, on a 2005 piece titled "Sodium Fox." Berman once said of Blake's work: "This is the only art I would want showing on the back of my eyelids."

Sarah Godfrey: Although Takashi Murakami's legacy may be those colorful Louis Vuitton bags that were all the rage in the aughts, he is in fact a celebrated fine artist. Kanye West's video for "Good Morning," looks like exactly like Murakami's work because, um, it is Murakami's work. The Japanese artist created the version of West's bear character that appears on the cover of the "Graduation" album and stars in this video.

Chris Richards: Grace Jones's "I'm Not Pefect (But I'm Perfect for You)" isn't her best tune, but the video features some pretty cool footage of the late Keith Haring painting up a gigantic dress for the video's star. Some guy named Andy Warhol makes a cameo, too. Lady Gaga, step your game up.

[The fine folks at Warner Brothers won't allow us to embed the video for REM's "Losing My Religion," but you can watch it right here.]

Allison Stewart: I'm not sure if it's a blatant theft or a really, really heartfelt homage (sometimes the line is kinda blurred), but R.E.M.'s "Losing My Religion" video comes to mind. It basically features R.E.M. standing around looking theatrically sad, and water is running, and there's a lot of iconography filched from Italian painter Caravaggio. It was totally over the top and absurdly serious, but still absolutely perfect. Thom Yorke did a vaguely similar thing with "The Hollow Earth" video, which appropriated imagery from Banksy, either with or without Banksy's help (Yorke was kinda cagey about it). But Banksy + Yorke = Pretentiousness Overload. R.E.M. did it right.

By Chris Richards  |  June 17, 2010; 12:05 PM ET
Categories:  Taking sides  | Tags: Beck, Grace Jones, Kanye West, Katy Perry, REM, Thom Yorke, Vampire Weekend  
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I had no idea who Man Ray was until Feeling Gravitys Pull came out. To this day, I wonder what a "Man Ray kind of sky" would look like.

Posted by: Miles_Standish_Proud | June 17, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

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