Do you ever feel like the art world is sort of like high school, or life at a small liberal arts college? Or maybe just a blowout party you’re not actually sure you were invited to, but you decided to show up anyway?
Take “Picasso Baby,” for instance — that “performance art film” that Jay Z shot last year at Pace Gallery. I wasn’t invited. My boyfriend was. I lived. But the pictures and videos that came out of the gallery still fascinate me — they seem to expose something about the art world and its love of celebrity (and lately, the return embrace), something about the insideriness, the perpetual performance, the mixture of honest creativity and hucksterism that characterize this industry. It’s never been clear to me if Jay Z set out to capture all that, or if he just happened to do so along the way to wanting in.
Artist Elisa Kreisinger, aka Pop Culture Pirate, picked up on this too, and fortunately for all of us she made a video that amplifies it. Taking four minutes of footage from Jay Z’s “Picasso Baby,” she set it to Taylor Swift’s saccharine song “22,” which celebrates being young, “happy, free, confused, and lonely at the same time,” having one-night-stands and dressing up like hipsters. That sounds a little like the art world, doesn’t it? The mash-up is technically simple — just straight images from Jay Z’s video and Swift’s voice — but the pairing is bitingly brilliant.
It’s miserable and magical oh yeeeeeeaaaaaahhhhhhhhh …