Remember when Jay Z was at the Pace Gallery for half the day? Twitter was buzzing with vines and videos of Jay Z rapping his song “Picasso Baby” on a loop for six hours in a small room at the gallery.
This was to promote his album, Magna Carta Holy Grail and, in his own way, to make himself a rapper who indulged in all art forms. The performance, in itself, was inspired by Marina Abramovic’s The Artist is Present, which took place at MoMa. During her residency there, she spent seven hundred and fifty hours staring at anyone who wanted to sit across from her in an epic stare down. Lines of people, including celebrities like James Franco and Lady Gaga, turned up.
Jay Z took note of this performance and created a mini version, which also acted as a short film for his song, “Picasso Baby.” That same woman who he was inspired by is now hitting back, claiming that Jay Z used her presence for his performance. During those six hours, droves of people showed up, from regular neighborhood kids to celebrities like Adam Driver, Alan Cumming, and Taraji P. Henson. However, no one had a commanding presence like the mother of performance art, Marina Abramovic.
That said, she wasn’t happy with the way things turned out on her end. Marina agreed to participate in Jay Z’s mini exhibition only if he agreed to support the Marina Abramovic Institute, but he didn’t keep up his end of the deal.
In an interview with Spike magazine, Abramovic explains her beef with Jay Z. “The day before, he came to my office and I gave him an entire PowerPoint presentation and said, ‘Okay, you can help me, because I really need help to build this thing.’ “
She continued, “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.”
“In the end, it was only a one-way transaction.”
So would she ever work with Jay Z again? According to the performance artist, there’s no way she will ever get over this stunt. “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.”
A few months after the performance, Roc Nation, which is owned by Jay Z, confirmed the pending donation to Marina Abramovic’s Institute. Back then, Abramovic’s office director, Giuliano Argenziano, said that a dollar amount wasn’t discussed but he was confident that Jay Z would donate.
[Image via Watch This NYC]