Inspiring Visuals + Overwhelming Whiteness : Lana Del Rey's Love

A few weeks ago, Lana Del Rey released a video for her new single, "Love." It's a production full of dreamy, spaced out visuals, and Lana looking like a perfectly-coifed, hippie earth-mother in a white mini-dress and flowers in her hair.

Sparkle, Beth Hoeckel

Creation, Beth Hoeckel

Cheerful, Beth Hoeckel

Dreamer, Beth Hoeckel
The song is about, well, being young and in love. Nothing new in the Lana-sphere. But the video! The video has this epic, sweeping surreality that I love—and an overwhelming whiteness that I do not. I would be truly remiss not to address the sort of headaches I get, singing along with Lana's sultry voice while also being painfully aware that her world—a vivid, often devastating and idealistic dreamscape—is also one that feels exclusively white.

Moonriver, Beth Hoeckel

I'm not even interested in holding Lana to some standard of "diversity"—just as I don't expect any nuanced dialogue about race or women (or anything, really) from rappers like Migos or Future. If it's music that I can bop to...or make art to...or sing along with...or daydream during, etc...I'm good.

Solar Eclipse, Beth Hoeckel

Wading, Beth Hoeckel
If a musician's social outlook tends to line up with mine: awesome! Even better! But I don't need it to. I'm not gonna go on twitter and drag M.I.A. because she has informed and honest opinions about refugees and the BLM movement. I like Lana Del Rey's whole vibe, music, visuals, lyrics: everything. But she's also a white woman living in a world that feels closed off to me. It's impossible for me to ignore that. It's at those times—grappling with that exclusivity—that I'm grateful for artists like Solange or Dev Hynes, who intentionally make music for certain marginalized voices and identities.

Moonrise, Beth Hoeckel

Float, Beth Hoeckel
The general lack of melanin isn't the only thing I noticed in this video, though. I totally appreciated the repeating motifs of space and otherworldly wanderlust throughout. Partially because they felt like an Urban Outfitters ad, but mostly because they reminded me of one of my favorite collage artists: Beth Hoeckel.

To me, Hoeckel's work instills a sense of wonder and awe, by presenting a person or thing in a totally unexpected context. Her work is often funny, playful, or dreamy. A ham sandwich becomes a chair for a girl in a retro bikini; women lounge in impossible plant arrangements; children swim through a starry night sky.

Ember, Beth Hoeckel

Distance, Beth Hoeckel

I think all forms of art—music, theater, painting, etc. are always referencing one another. Even if it's subconscious, these "conversations" are always interesting. They tend to enhance each work individually. I love witnessing + discovering these interactions and chance happenings. For your viewing pleasure, I've embedded the "Love" video below. What do you see? What do you think?

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