The Kaplan Twins are Instagram models and artists and are quickly rising in the LA art scene due to their controversial paintings focused around celebrity, narcissism, and sex.
Recent Fine Art grads, identical twins and total babes Allie and Lexi Kaplan are making a name for themselves by blurring the lines of socialite and artist. Based in LA, the duo uses Instagram as their main platform for their art and have a substantial following of 116,000. They use the account to broadcast their art projects and personal lives, selfies included. This means their feed looks a lot like your normal Instagram model, blogger, or ‘influencer’ account, but with one key difference: the Kaplans are only interested in painting erotic nudes. Their art aims to shock, entertain, and stimulate conversation with pieces that are pretty much NSFW.
In projects like their recent ‘Make me Famous’, Allie and Lexi explore society’s fascination – and often obsession – with celebrity, social media, and sex. Working with oil paint and canvas, the Kaplan twins explore the lengths people go to pursue fame in corporate America, through what they’ve termed “sexploitation.” They often paint nudes, drawing on pornography for inspiration, and creating realistic oil paintings of infamous celebrity sex tapes.
The twins have a tongue-in-cheek approach to their artwork, proclaiming that they “don’t take themselves too seriously”. In an article with Coveteur Magazine, they explain the motives behind their reproductions of some graphic scenes famous in celebrity culture, including the infamous sex tapes from Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton. The twins aim to create art “that has shock value, but is also super fun and engaging.” Allie elaborates: “For us, it’s important to generate a conversation, and with art in general, we don’t really need to have some profound and detailed conceptual thought to it, it’s more about what the public can relate to, what can generate some sort of controversy.” While shock value is an important part of the Kaplans’ art, the paintings are also supposed to provoke debate about our obsession with celebrity culture.
The nude portraits are also an attempt to reclaim the ‘male gaze’ and draw attention to the sexualisation of female bodies, particularly female celebrities. The twins initially found it hard to publish their art online as it was reported for violating community guidelines with excessive nudity, which is a testament to their controversiality. However, although some of the paintings use stills from pornography, the twins maintain they aren’t obscene material. By making an oil painting focused around a sex tape, Allie and Lexi aim to use a very traditional medium to interact with something that is the exact opposite.
Another of the Kaplan Twins’ projects involves, in a typically controversial fashion, the two artists ’sleeping with’ soft toys of characters in pop culture. The twins have bought a toy Darth Vader, Chewbacca, Mario, Pikachu, and the Hulk, to name a few. They take suggestive photos with their new toy and, after sleeping with it for the night, sell it on for over ten times the original price. Again, the project isn’t completely serious. In fact, it started as a one-off experiment to see the reaction of people online. Due to its success, the twins decided to involve more toys.
It’s easy to become suspicious that the Kaplan twins are simply profiting off their own narcissism. Like many other influential Instagrammers, it doesn’t hurt that they’re completely gorgeous. More than that, they happen to be identical twins. Through sexy selfies and funny captions, Allie and Lexi have created a strong brand: The Kaplan Twins. This presents the girls as one unit, capitalising on their uniqueness as twins who look a lot like another famous set, Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen. They admitted they’ve even considered changing from The Kaplan Twins to The Horny Olsens.
However, the art they’ve produced has sparked debate in the art community, specifically about our relationship towards celebrity culture and sex. Some people have even questioned whether something so closely linked to pornography should be called art at all. In that way, the twins have achieved exactly what they set out to do. They have managed to provoke people into a serious debate while still keeping their own work silly and fun. We’re sure there will be plenty more controversial projects from these women in the future, so keep an eye on their Instagram @the_kaplan_twins to see where they’re headed next.
The Kaplan Twins: Are they more than just a sexy Instagram account? Let us know in the comments below.
Words: Dido Gompertz
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