*Jay-Z performed his song “Picasso Baby” for six hours Wednesday at the Pace Gallery in New York, reports The Guardian.
The performance was part of the rapper’s music video for the track from his new album “Magna Carta Holy Grail,” and inspired by the work of performance artist Marina Abramović, who was also in attendance for the show.
In Abramović’s 2010 installation, The Artist Is Present, she spent 736 hours in one-on-one encounters with MoMA visitors.
Wearing a crisp shirt and gold chain, Jay-Z performed “Picasso Baby” while prancing around Pace’s white-box gallery, as a crowd of delighted visitors looked on, among them director Judd Apatow, rapper Wale, Lena Dunham’s mother and the artist Laurie Simmons.
Unlike at most video shoots, Jay-Z’s label reps allowed the audience to keep their mobile phones. The Internet is full of amateur photos, clips and Vines from the event, and Fader obtained a copy of the official invitation. Based on Fader’s report, the crowd was intended as a “cross-section of the New York art and cultural world”, including important figures from the gallery and sales side of fine art.
It’s a fitting concept for the song “Picasso Baby,” which includes lyrical shout-outs not just to Picasso, but also Mark Rothko, Jeff Koons, Francis Bacon, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Andy Warhol and the Mona Lisa. In his recent Twitter Q&A, Jay-Z said he was planning to release “six pieces of art” to accompany his new album: this video, directed by Mark Romanek, is presumably the first.
Midway through the release week for “Magna Carta Holy Grail,” the LP seems destined for No 1. This will be Jay-Z’s first time topping the UK album charts, but his 13th US crown – a record among solo artists.