Music

Kanye West was spotted in Fort Worth over the weekend. But why was he here? (Updated)

Kanye West, having a conversation with an unidentified (and obliterated) person on the patio behind Cafe Modern at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth.
Kanye West, having a conversation with an unidentified (and obliterated) person on the patio behind Cafe Modern at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. Courtesy of Tracy Georges

(UPDATE below)

Rapper-singer Kanye West was spotted Saturday at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, although he doesn’t appear to have been there to look at the art.

Nor does he appear to have been there for a concert by composer Gabriel Kahane that was presented by the Cliburn. A Cliburn representative says that West was seen coming in, then entering Cafe Modern and exiting to the rear of the building.

The Modern says that it wasn’t an official visit, and that the museum wasn’t aware that West was coming.

Several musicians were in attendance as President Trump signed the Music Modernization Act on October 11, 2018. The law ensures artists who released records before 1972 are paid royalties from digital services.

One theory is that West is having a home designed by Tadao Ando, the architect who designed the Modern, and that West was studying the architecture at the museum.

Tracy Georges, of the Fort Worth office of commercial real-estate company Transwestern, posted a photo of West (taken by her sister) on Facebook. In the photo, West is talking with someone (whose face is blotted out by an emoji) on the patio behind the cafe.

“According to sis, it was totally chill,” Georges says in a Facebook Messenger exchange. “He was walking around like he was no one — and other than sneaky picture-taking, everyone was pretending like he was no one.”

Fort Worth does have a reputation for not crowding celebrities: Harrison Ford, whose son is a chef, tends to drop in to Fort Worth restaurants when he’s in town for additional pilot certification, and reportedly one of the things he likes about Fort Worth is that people don’t tend to bother him too much when he’s in town

West’s Twitter feed mentions nothing about the visit, and if he ate at Cafe Modern, he kept it to himself. Or even if he ate at Whataburger: On Sunday, he tweeted, “McDonald’s is my favorite restaurant.” There is, in fact, no mention of the visit on any of his social-media sites. There is no indication that West’s wife, Kim Kardashian West, or their children accompanied him on his visit.

During summer 2018, the Modern hosted “The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg,” an exhibit by pop artist Takashi Murakami, who designed the cover for West’s 2007 album “Graduation.”

We have an email out to West’s publicist. We will update if we hear back.

West has, of course, been in the news recently because of his support for — and then withdrawal of support for — President Trump. But there appeared to be nothing political about this visit.

UPDATE: The Modern wasn’t the only place that West visited. He was later spotted at Defender Outdoors Shooting Center, a gun range is a short drive off of University Drive north of White Settlement Road, a short drive from the Modern.

SECOND UPDATE: According to the Dallas Observer, West was also spotted outside Maple Leaf Diner, a Canadian diner in North Dallas, on Saturday morning. The Observer cites Josh Hamilton, a Wichita native, as saying that a “ videographer was filming West and what looked to be West’s security was in a black Cadillac Escalade pulled up next to him.”

The Observer also says that West was “at Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth for an art showing,” and the Kimbell confirmed that he did drop in. But the Observer does not mention the Modern, where West’s appearance was also confirmed.

The exhibit “Balenciaga in Black,” featuring fashions by courtier Cristóbal Balenciaga, is on view at the Kimbell through Jan. 6.  Turns out that West has a connection with the Balenciaga brand, which you can read about here. 

THIRD UPDATE (Nov. 9): UPDATE: We never did hear from West’s publicist; in fact, the email bounced back. But D Magazine reports that West dined at Mot Hai Ba, an acclaimed Vietnamese restaurant in Dallas. According to D, chef-owner Peja Krstic kept the visit quiet till Thursday, when he posted an Instagram photo of himself with West. 

Earlier this week, D also reported the reason for West’s visit: he was visiting his cousin, Grammy-winning singer Tony Williams (better-known as the World Famous Tony Williams), who lives in Fort Worth. Williams has toured with West and contributed to his albums.

D says it heard from Williams’ publicist, who told the magazine that he thinks “all the drama around West’s visit is ‘hilarious’.” But hey, when celebrities unexpectedly drop into town, it tends to draw attention.

Japanese contemporary artist Takashi Murakami's works cover the Cafe Modern walls during the summer 2018 exhibit at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, "The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg."

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