When Jay Z made his video for “Picasso Baby” two years ago, he took over New York’s Pace Gallery and rapped the song for six straight hours rapping directly into the faces of each of the cultural dignitaries who were there to witness it. One of those dignitaries was the Serbian performance artist Marina Abramovi?, whose 2010 piece “The Artist Is Present” inspired the stunt. Jay put the whole thing together with the cooperation of Abramovi?, and it seemed like a fascinating experiment, a pop-culture king toying around with the art world.. But to hear Abramovi? tell it now, it was entirely a matter of credibility purchased, and Jay didn’t even spend the money he promised to spend.
As Billboard points out, Abramovi? tells Spike, “[Jay Z] adapted my work only under one condition: that he would help my institute. Which he didn’t…. He just completely used me. And that wasn’t fair.” She went on: “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.” She also added that she was “very pissed,” as if you couldn’t tell.
The ether. The shit to make your soul burn slow.
UPDATE: Artnet News reports that Jay Z did in fact make a donation to Abramovi?’s institute. “Picasso Baby” video producer Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn read parts of the receipt to Artnet by phone, quoting its serial number (W984804) and indicating that the donation was “substantial.”
UPDATE 2: The Marina Abramovi? Institute has issued a statement today (5/20) apologizing for the whole misunderstanding:
Marina Abramovi? was not informed of Shawn ‘Jay Z’ Carter’s donation from two years ago when she recently did an interview with Spike Magazine in Brazil. We are sincerely sorry to both Marina Abramovi? and Shawn ‘Jay Z’ Carter for this, and since then we have taken to appropriate actions to reconcile this matter.
Well, that ended quickly.