Rapper Jay-Z has made plain his interest in the contemporary art world for some time; he referenced super-gallerist Larry Gagosian in his 2011 collaboration with Kanye, That's My Bitch, and, as Galleristny reports, his new album, Magna Carta Holy Grail, is thick with contemporary art references, from his on-going appreciation of Jean-Michel Basquiat through to more recent enthusiasms for Rothko, Bacon and his trips to Art Basel Miami Beach.
Yet his first foray into the performance art realm took place yesterday, when a select crowd of art insiders were invited to Pace Gallery's Chelsea premises by fellow gallery Salon 94 and the acclaimed video director Mark Romanek, for a six-hour performance of the rapper's new track, Picasso Baby. Some among the crowd chose to simply observe, while others, such as Mickalene Thomas, Dustin Yellin and RoseLee Goldberg danced with Jay.
Perhaps the most noteworthy face-off was between the rapper and performance artist Marina Abramovic. The pair faced each other for an entire run through of the song. This is no great stretch for Abramovic, who sat for 736 hours opposite gallery-goers in MoMA back in 2010 for her now legendary piece, The Artist is Present. Still, her appearance does suggest Jay-Z could be evolving from being a contemporary art collector to collaborator.
For more on this story go here. To learn more about Abramovic, please consider our wonderful monograph. For greater insight into the corporeal presence in art more generally, do take a look at The Artist's Body. But before you do any of that, join Phaidon Club through which you'll get exclusive access to Phaidon events, offers and points towards all your purchases with us.