Picasso Baby: Jay-Z performs at Pace Gallery in New York

Music maestro, Jay-Z became the piece of art at the Pace Gallery yesterday afternoon. Standing on a white pedestal, in a room lined with art world stars, celebrities and personalities, he rhymed his new song Picasso Baby.

Jay-Z walked in wearing a crisp Theory white short-sleeved button-down with black jeans and white Converse String Pro leather sneakers along with one, thick gold chain. Selected people from the crowd were invited to sit on a bench across from his stage and interact with him. Performance artist Marina Abramovic was present and this event reminded us of her 2010 MoMA show, in which Abramovic sat on a chair while visitors sat across from her for as long as they wanted.

Fittingly, Picasso Baby posits Jay-Z as a modern day Jean-Michel Basquiat or Picasso, which brings us to why we find him in a gallery surrounded by art world stars such as Andres Serrano, Lorna Simpson, Scott Campbell, Kehinde Wiley, and even Picasso’s granddaughter Diana Widmaier Picasso. Other guests included Girls star Jemima Kirke, actor Alan Cumming and actress Lake Bell.

The performance was part of a six-hour video shoot directed by Mark Romanek, who used a handful of cameras to record the performance. The crowd also filmed the shoot, posting pictures and film to social media. The excitement and energy of the performance continued as posts on Instagram and Vine circulated.

Always on trend, Jay-Z proves once again how to be center of attention, while he cleverly gets the crowd to help him spread the word and buzz for his new single. – Words and photographs by Rita Nakouzi

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