When Jay-Z rolled out his new streaming music service, Tidal, last month, the rapper spent a lot of time talking about respect for artistry. That’s something that a lot of Jay-Z’s fans felt like they could get behind. After all, the man behind the new project had spent a lot of time collaborating with a range of notable figures across a whole range of art forms — including the iconic performance artist, Marina Abramović.
That collaboration involved Jay-Z’s interpretation of Marina’s controversial piece at the Museum of Modern Art, “The Artist Is Present.” In the original work, Abramović sat in the MoMA for nearly 736 hours total and stared into the eyes of every spectator who sat across from her. Inspired by her work, Jay-Z created “Picasso Baby,” where he rapped the titular song for 6 continuous hours inside of the same museum.
JAY Z – Picasso Baby: A Performance Art Film from DERTV on Vimeo.
Among those who joined him was the artist Marina herself, but even after an exhaustive amount of time explaining how the collaboration would work to Jay-Z, Abramović still left the work feeling slighted. In a recent interview with Spike, Marina explained that she wasn’t just unhappy with how things turned out, but that she has lost a lot of respect of Jay-Z in the process.
“I am very pissed by this, since he adapted my work only under one condition: that he would help my institute. Which he didn’t… The day before, he came to my office and I gave him an entire power point presentation and said: okay, you can help me, because I really need help to build this thing. Then he just completely used me. And that wasn’t fair. This is very different from Lady Gaga, for example, who has done great work for me. Just by having 45 million followers, she brought all these young kids into my public.”
Unfortunately for other mainstream artists who might want to collaborate with Abramović in the future, Jay-Z seems to have soured the performance artist on the idea for the time being.
“In the end it was only a one-way transaction. I will never do it again, that I can say. Never. I was really naive in this kind of world. It was really new to me, and I had no idea that this would happen. It’s so cruel, it’s incredible. I will stay away from it for sure.”
Do you think Jay-Z owes Marina Abramović an apology?
[Image by Andrew Burton and Ben Gabbe / Getty Images]