It’s been nearly two years since Marina Abramović made her appearance at the shoot for Jay Z’s “Picasso Baby” music video, but the events of that day are still fresh in her mind.
“In the end it was only a one-way transaction,” she recently told Vienna-based art magazine Spike. “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.”
The grand dame of endurance-based performance art, who has become much more of a public celebrity since her 2010 Museum of Modern Art piece “The Artist Is Present,” is peeved that Jay Z hasn’t supported her gesamtkunstwerk, the Marina Abramović Institute (MAI). While James Franco and Lady Gaga have championed the MAI project and the so-called “Abramović method” that will be taught there, the famous MC was apparently impervious to Abramović’s enticing and hypnotic … PowerPoint presentation?
“The day before, he came to my office and I gave him an entire PowerPoint presentation and said: OK, you can help me, because I really need help to build this thing,” Abramović told Spike. “Then he just completely used me. And that wasn’t fair … I am very pissed by this, since he adapted my work only under one condition: that he would help my institute. Which he didn’t.” (Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn, founder of the art gallery Salon 94 and producer of the “Picasso Baby” video, claims he did.)
The rest of the interview — which includes “questions” like this gem: “When you rubbed your forehead with Jay-Z’s, it seemed like an economical transaction: I grant you the right to use my piece, but in reverse you have to provide a space for my brand within your campaign” — is worth reading if only because Abramović is uncharacteristically candid about how her work and image have changed since the MoMA blockbuster. As for the “Picasso Baby” debacle, it wouldn’t take much for Jay Z (who dropped $4.5 million on Basquiat a few months after touching foreheads with Abramović) to right the situation. Besides, there must be some naming rights still up for grabs at MAI; who wouldn’t want to rehydrate, after a grueling Abramović method session, in the “Blue Ivy Carter Water Drinking Chamber”?
Update, 5/21, 9:55am ET: The Marina Abramović Institute has issued a formal apology to Jay Z and Abramović, explaining that the rapper had in fact donated money to the MAI project. The statement, publish by the New York Times, reads:
Marina Abramovic 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 Abramovic and Shawn “Jay Z” Carter for this, and since then we have taken to appropriate actions to reconcile this matter.
In an open letter, European institutional leaders defend Manuel Borja-Villel, who has faced right-wing attacks for his progressive programming.
A new study posits that rising smog levels in 19th-century London and Paris likely played a role in blurring the lines of realism.
In Seongmin Ahn’s paintings, it is not our past we are looking at but our possible future.
Born in Shiraz, Sokhanvari fled Iran as a child a year before the Revolution and has devoted her artistic practice to the country she left behind.
Join the New-York Historical Society on February 10 for a virtual conversation about our changing relationship to the natural world with Julie Decker, John Grade, and LaMont Hamilton.
Stephen L. Starkman’s moving book about his encounter with mortality leaves a place for perseverance and hope.
“We clearly f-ed this one up,” said a Metropolitan Transit Authority rep, adding that the error in the artist’s last name is being fixed.
At least we won’t have to look at it on Earth.
From residencies, fellowships, and workshops to grants, open calls, and commissions, our monthly list of opportunities for artists, writers, and art workers.
Presented by Northwestern’s Block Museum and McCormick School of Engineering, this new exhibition seeks empathy at the boundaries of life. On view in Evanston, Illinois.
The statue could be a likeness of Trajan Decius, emperor of the Roman Empire from 249 to 251 CE.
The action could disrupt public access to the museum as workers campaign for higher wages and better labor conditions.