July 11, 2013


OK so you have probably already heard the news that Jay Z performed at Pace Gallery in New York recently and when it comes to all things artsy I am all ears...but this....I am just not sure. Social media went into meltdown about this video shoot and I have seen a ton of instagram and vine video footage (or snippets shall we say) of this "performance". 
If you missed out there are some really good ones here.
Jay Z and Marina Abramovic

Some background information for you... 
Jay Z is following many rappers and musicians by embracing art in their musical repertoire. Kanye West frequently raps about art and has collaborated with artists for many album covers. 

Kaws for Kanye West's '808s & Heartbreak'

George Condo for Kanye West's 'My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy'. 

Taking it back in time a little, Derek Blasberg uncovered the 1979 performance of David Bowie with Klaus Nomi and Joey Arias that you can watch here.
David Bowie, Klaus Nomi and Joey Arias.

And who can forget when artist Ai Wei Wei did his rendition of Gangnam Style?! 

Then there is Yoko Ono "one half of art and pop's ultimate marriage" who is still heavily involved in the art scene.

But this 6 hour rapping feat (well, lip synching really) is quite major, as the spectacle at Pace Gallery was with performance artist and contemporary art Goddess Marina Abramovic. Marina is celebrated and warmly embraced by the art world community and its heavy hitters. (In case you are wondering about Abramovic, read up on her background here). Is this coupling of rapper and artist in order to propel Jay Z to another level? Is it to give Abramovic street cred? It just seems like such an unlikely pairing to me.  In regards to feedback from the show there is a great quote from Derek Blasberg's blog; "some thought that Marina was diluting the purity of her own work by collaborating with a Pop star and, likewise, some people thought that Jay-Z had no part trying to conform his art into someone else’s".  The really interesting thing here is the blurring of boundaries between mainstream music/ art/ pop culture and AGE. It seems that "artists are asserting that pop culture now belongs to everyone and united the world, beyond all categories- including age" (The Gaurdian UK, 2013). Jay Z rapped to children, audience members and Abramovic who is well into her 60's. Ai Wei Wei dancing in Gangnam style (above) is in his late 50's and Yoko Ono is in her 80's. There is a crossing over of boundaries. An embrace of new territories and a new dialogue about art. And at the end of the day, that's what art is about really, isn't it.