Jay-Z performed Picasso Baby from his new album Magna Carta Holy Grail for six hours straight. Hov took over New York’s Pace Gallery and his invited guests included random fans, rapper/actors and most notably Marina Abramovic.
Abramovic’s 2010 art exhibition is the inspiration for the video concept. Abramovic invited anyone willing to wait in line to sit across from her at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, where she sat during business days for almost two months.
According to guardian.co.uk:
“Wearing a crisp shirt and gold chain, Jay-Z spent the whole day prancing around Pace’s white-box gallery, performing the Magna Carta Holy Grail track to a crowd of delighted onlookers. According to Stereogum, the shoot was inspired by Abramović’s 2010 installation, The Artist Is Present, where she spent 736 hours in one-on-one encounters with MoMA visitors. Here too, Jay-Z faced off with strangers – as well as some well-known faces such as director Judd Apatow, the rapper Wale, Lena Dunham’s mum and the artist Laurie Simmons.”
Of course Jay-Z, the most successful rapper of all time, can mimic the art world and have them love him for it at the same time.
Thedailybeast.com compared his performance to Kanye West’s impromptu performance at Art Basel in Switzerland:
“If West admired the art world from afar, then Jay-Z put himself smack into the middle of it—becoming, in his Abramovic-like way, a kind of living, breathing performance artist—which is, of course, what he is in a way, anyway. For all those release forms and security guards, Jay-Z appeared more relaxed than West had been. For all the pretentiousness, the performance was democratic, bringing young kids onstage and high-fiving them, shaking hands in the crowd, dancing with enthusiastic fans and then inviting everyone to jump the rope and rush around him into one big, completely overwhelming, group huddle.”
With performances like Picasso Baby, Jay-Z continues to push the envelope of hip-hip consciousness and adds to his legendary status.
In a game where rappers retired by 30, Jigga at 43, is taking the genre where no one could have imagined it could go. Art galleries, Warhols, Basquiats and of course Picassos are a world way from the humble beginnings of hip-hip in the Bronx.
But in what was an example of why superproducer Timbaland called the new album a “real rap record,” Jay-Z also performs for the grand-daughter of the great artist, Diana Widmaier Picasso.
As the moment is described by thedailybeast.com:
“Watching Jay-Z sing, “I’m the modern-day Pablo,” into the face of Picasso’s descendent seemed, for the record, simultaneously offensive and kind of exciting.”
And if that isn’t the definition of a true hip-hop moment then I don’t know what is.
Check out footage from the video shoot below: