Spears now a work of art

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Fallen pop princess Britney Spears has been called many things this year as she has bounced in and out of rehab, attacked paparazzi with an umbrella and shaken her stuff on MTV's Video Music Awards.

No doubt, Spears has been a real piece of work. Now, she is more than 50 pieces of art at a Hollywood gallery.

Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbatos -- makers of the documentary "The Eyes of Tammy Faye" about former televangelist Tammy Faye Bakker Messner as well as other films exploring fame -- gathered paintings, sculpture and other work for "Just Britney," which opened at their gallery on Friday.

"We reached out to a number of artists and found Britney is such a polarizing character these days," said Steven Corfe, a co-curator of the show with Thairin Smothers.

"People absolutely adored her and wanted to celebrate her bubblegum, pop princess years. Or, they thought she was an irresponsible mother or wanted to play up the drug side of things," Corfe added. "The show reflects that whole spectrum."

Pieces range from a portrait of the 25-year-old singer, "Gum Blond XLVIII" by Jason Kronenwald, made of chewed bubble gum, to the 6-foot by 10-foot (1.8 by 3.0-metre) "Snake Charmer" by Jamie Boling, based on a paparazzi photo of Britney exiting a car with her skirt hiked up and no panties on.

Spears rose to fame as a child star on the Disney Channel and a member of the New Mickey Mouse Club. As a teenager, she released chart-topping pop tunes like "Baby One More Time" and "Oops!...I Did It Again."

But as a young adult, Spears has been through two marriages and is in a custody battle over the two children she had with ex-husband Kevin Federline.

She has dealt with substance abuse, fired her staff, shaved her head and shed clothes for an ocean dip in front of paparazzi. Her performance of a new song, "Gimme More," while dressed as a stripper at the MTV awards, earned harsh criticism.

"She personifies our obsession with celebrity culture, and it's an obsession that won't die down no matter how far she goes off the rail," Corfe said. "We love to put people up on a pillar and we love even more to shoot them down."

"Just Britney" runs through early October at Bailey's and Barbatos' World of Wonder art gallery in Hollywood.
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