Jay Z is surrounded by fans in his “Picasso Baby” performance art film.
Do yourself a favor and don’t call the de-hyphened Jay Z’s “Picasso Baby” a “video.” The 10-minute clip, which premiered this past Friday on HBO and serves as the culmination of the VMA nominee’s recent visit to New York’s Pace Gallery, is being billed as a “Performance Art Video.” And after about 10 seconds of watching, you’ll totally see why.
Watch Jay Z’s “Picasso Baby: A Performance Art Film” after the jump.
Set inside a stark-white room, Jay spent a whopping six hours performing in front of an audience of rabid Jigga Stans and super-famous people (such as J. Crew creative director Jenna Lyons, actress Taraji P. Henson, and the lady who Jay admits inspired this whole production, artist Marina Abramovic. Even MTV’s own Rob Markman was there (in the flesh! #Jealousy) to watch the whole thing unfold).
As Jay Z rapped “Picasso Baby,” a track that appears on his latest release, Magna Carta… Holy Grail, he interacted with fans from the crowd, who either got right up in his face (we’re looking at you, Marina) or sat down on a bench to just watched and observe (#art). And then of course there was the kid who got to wear Jay’s bling around his neck, who will from now on always be known as The Luckiest Kid In The Entire World.
While we love large-scale, dramatic music videos (um, Katy Perry’s “The One That Got Away,” hello!), Jay’s on-the-fly (and vaguely chaotic) live approach to “Picasso Baby” felt refreshing. “Concerts are pretty much performance art with the venues change,” Jay explains at the top of the clip. “And just by nature, the venues, the performances change, right? You’re in a smaller venue, it’s a bit more intimate.”
Indeed, “intimacy” certainly did seem to define the event. A performance art piece in of itself, Jay watched a hodgepodge of fans experience a range of reactions to his work, which, on a smaller scale, was also kind of like the visceral experience of going to a live concert. But as we learned in ninth-grade art history, art can take many forms; to Jay Z, “art” might mean watching a large group of people experience a plethora of reactions while, to the audience, art might just mean watching Jay Z’s performance.
Now, before we start bending our minds in half and talking about the space-time continuum, we’ll just say that our only complaint here is that we weren’t invited to the show. (I mean, OUR in-person reaction would’ve been bomb, and Jay knows it!)
+ Watch Jay Z’s “Picasso Baby: A Performance Art Film.”
Photo credit: Jay Z’s Facebook