Art, Music, Thoughts

Jay Z’s ‘Picasso Baby: A Performance Art Film’ + Abramović

Here is something new from Mr. Carter.

And some notes I made whilst I was watching it. This is the first thing in quite a while which links back to my fine art degree and provoked a reaction. I’m not for or against this piece of work from Jay Z, but that’s usual of my mediator demeanour in life: never quite taking an opinion (I try to see that as an asset!) So here’s what came to me:

Marina Abramović – hugely respected performance artist. Recently lots of hype from her ‘The Artist is Present’ performance piece in 2010 at MOMA. 736 hours, each sitting 30 minutes long of sitting opposite someone, (any spectator). Huge time and emotion investment. Imagine staring into so many different people’s faces for that long, that often.

Jay Z’s newest music video, shot in one day, nicking the performance piece from Abramović, but being friendly with her – she appears a few times in the video, mostly head-butting Jay Z and staring into his eyes, adding some weight to the interactions – everyone else seems to be showing off.

I wonder if Jay Z paid to use Abramovićs’ creative idea?

jay z

Everyone looks so excited at the end, that’s nice. Like the end of a really good gig where everyone’s wanting to go and carry the party on, like it finished too early. ‘people’ include the general public as well as Jim Jaramusch, Judd Apatow, Jemima Kirke and Alan Cumming. Which is great. Everyone, come along – just like Abramović did for her performance piece.

It’s out of the box for rappers, which is great. I like that. But it’s sneaking into the box of performance art, and making it another consumable, you-tube-able, quick-fix of art. No space to be bored, bang bang bang. “I’m a celebrity!” The excitement of seeing a rapper compared to the stillness of an artist staring into someones eyes for 30 minutes and seeing what happens.

Jay Z’s video shoot looks like a lot of fun, I wish I was there. He’s got this crazy cult following, that triangle shape he makes with his hands, which his crowd copies and shows him. Bet he loves that.

That’s it really. Just some thoughts. I don’t know if I like it or not. Do you?

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One thought on “Jay Z’s ‘Picasso Baby: A Performance Art Film’ + Abramović

  1. Not sure what I think yet either. Milo and I have been discussing this…. and more re: Lady Gaga’s new Artpop album // recent performance art collaboration with Marina Abramovic, on the one hand there’s some excitement over a cross over from pop and hiphop into art, especially with Jay-Z’s lyrical references to Rothko, Picasso, Basquiat, etc. This makes me excited, like yeah! maybe more people will be turned on to art who would otherwise never search out “art”, at least the kind of art that hangs in galleries. I feel some appreciation for Jay-Z’s interest in blending high brow with low brow and have always been fascinating with him as this embodiment of the new American Dream… to rise from selling crack in the projects to a new incarnation as patron of the arts?? It’s a new paradigm. But what it all means I’m not quiet sure yet. There’s a lack of introspection and a cheapness that comes when pop co-ops art. Hmmm…

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