picasso n’ jay z…

A few weeks ago, at PACE Gallery in New York, Jay Z performed his song “Picasso Baby” over and over and over for six hours. He sang face-to-face to individuals, in an attempt to create a personal connection and shared energy… kinda like:

Yep. In a very similar {yet totally different because he sang, danced, and laughed with his audience} way, this was not too far off from what Marina Abramović did at MoMA with her “Artist is Present” performance. Well, she showed up so that she could have her personal {yet rap filled} moment with Jay Z. I wonder if she was kinda there to say “Yes, cool. But you know I kinda did this already, right?” … or maybe she just loves hip hop as much as I do! {really, I do – so, so much!}

Lots of people including actors, artists, writers, musicians, collectors, and kids showed up to watch Jay Z. Oh, but make sure you cover the kids ears every few minutes {enter explicit lyrics here}.

It seemed like everyone there had an amazing time! My favorite moment was when this lovely lady in rose-colored glasses {Sandra Gering, Art Dealer} walked up, sat down, gave a huge smile and a little shoulder dip … completely throwing Jay Z off his game {around 2:28 in the video} He lost his words for a second and needed to regroup … ahh, nothin’ like a lady in rose-colored glasses to shake you up a bit:

Now, there’s lots of talk about this New York “happening”. Was it real art {whatever that means}? Was it just a really cool way to do a music video {which is actually an artistic project as well}? Was it a blatant copy {with music} of Marina’s performance? And then this question has also come up… if hip-hop is art for the people, why didn’t this happen in the streets instead of in a gallery with a very fancy invite list. Honestly, I’m not sure how to answer all of those questions, but I also don’t know that I need to. That’s what being creative is about, right? Just doing, and making, and sharing – and I think that Jay Z did it in a way that made the most sense for him and his medium. At the end of the day, it looks like it was a crazy fun, energy-filled six hours, and I am totally jealous of everyone who got to be part of it {including Jerry Saltz, New York Magazine art critic, who wrote a great article about his experience}

The only question left to ask… I wonder what Picasso would have thought? Given the images below {Picasso dancing with a poodle; Picasso dancing in his underpants; and a drawing of one of his dancers} I think he might have put on a stripy shirt and rocked it out with his new friend, Hova.

Here… you and Pablo can watch this together {the song, and a snippet of what went down that day – here’s the newly released video of the event}:

{Images: Various sources including Vogue, and grabs from the video above}

comments (17)

  1. Cassie /// 08.06.2013 /// 5:19am

    Oh – I adore this. No matter what his intention was – whether to make art or a really cool music video. I mean, Alan Cummings was there. Marcel Dzama dressed as a bull! Sigh – it was entertaining to see all those artists/entertainers to say the least.

  2. Second Floor Flat /// 08.06.2013 /// 6:25am

    I agree – whatever the intention was, this video was an amazing way to connect people of all kinds (well not all kinds but you get it). I found this video to be incredibly inspiring and – talk about jealous! What I wouldn’t have given to be there. Great post – thanks for sharing!

  3. Jessica /// 08.06.2013 /// 8:08am


  4. Ana /// 08.06.2013 /// 8:50am

    What everyone above me has said.

    + I just fell in love with Sandra Gering.

  5. Sarah /// 08.06.2013 /// 10:01am

    I’ve read so many hate-filled comments online about this performance – really vitriolic “Jay Z just killed art” sort of hate. It’s so nice to read a more reasoned, optimistic take on it. Also, it’s easy to judge if you’re not actually there. Look at the joy on those faces!

  6. danielle (aka the jealous curator) /// 08.06.2013 /// 11:27am

    yep – i’ve heard a lot of the same comments. i even hesitated writing about it honestly, but at the end of the day i really DO wish that my name had been on that fancy invite list! why do we have to define everything as “art” or “not art”… can’t we just enjoy a creative experience?

  7. Lynn Faulkner Westerholm /// 08.06.2013 /// 12:40pm

    We should never condemn an act of creativity that brings people together. We should just let it make us happy, then take that feeling forward into our lives and spread it out and keep it going. Multiply. Don’t divide. Divisiveness bores me. Thanks for posting this, Danielle.

  8. danielle (aka the jealous curator) /// 08.06.2013 /// 12:43pm

    wow. very well put lynn.

  9. Gabriel /// 08.06.2013 /// 2:09pm

    Ok, A: I want to be Sandra Gering when I grow up. and B: I don’t really think of this as a “copy” of her work, if he wore a red dress and sat at a table, maybe, but that’s not the case. I think nowadays pop-culture is deeply connected to art (heck, pop-culture is art) and vice versa so it’s not rare to see artists from all walks of life (music, fashion, fine arts) influencing each other. Obviously, some uptight circles don’t like this as they’d like to keep the art “pure”, but I bet the hardcore hip hopers say the same thing.

    Regardless, I love me some hip hop mixed with art. I so wanted to be there. It looks like everyone had a blast. Thanks for sharing it Danielle!

  10. danielle (aka the jealous curator) /// 08.06.2013 /// 5:13pm

    yes, yes, and YES! thanks for the great comment gab! xo

  11. Imitation vs. Inspiration | weird & wonderful willinghams /// 08.08.2013 /// 2:00pm

    […] Then, I can really see how that energy seeps into their own work. (For example, I loved the Jealous Curator‘s  visual concept in her blog post about this very same video. Did I “cheat” in […]

  12. Ester /// 08.09.2013 /// 1:07am

    I love it , it even brought me into a few tears. I like to think that he was inspired by the awesome Marina and its a tribute to..!

    Love love love it!

  13. inspired by // picasso’s baby | et al.lison /// 08.12.2013 /// 9:19pm

    […] the jealous curator nails it, per usual. did jay plagiarize this type of performance art? does performance art in a fancy gallery undermine the purpose of hip hop? is this real art? and if we’re gonna go there, what really is real art? […]

  14. Dana /// 08.26.2013 /// 12:00pm

    Loved this. Anything that questions and broadens and erases drawn divisions is good stuff! But, this also made me love Marina Abramovic SO MUCH. How cool is she!!!! She’s just like, yeah, this is amazing, I’m interested and inspired in alllll of it. Dream dinner attendant, to the max.

  15. the jealous curator /// 08.26.2013 /// 8:49pm

    yes! can i get an invite to that dinner party, please!?

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