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Jay-Z Does Performance Art

Last week, Jay-Z took to a museum in New York City to tackle a new medium: performance art. The rapper took over Chelsea’s Pace Gallery for the entire day to not only perform, but to record the music video for his song Picasso Baby.

 Decked out in a crisp, white shirt and a gold chain, Jay-Z took center stage to rap straight for six hours. His inspiration came from renowned performance artist, Marina Abramovic, who was also in attendance for Jay-Z’s performance. In Abramovic’s performance, she sat face to face with strangers for 736 hours. For Picasso Baby, Jay-Z performed the song for a changing audience. He rapped for the average art gallery attendee as well as quite a few celebrities, including Alan Cumming, Lena Dunham’s mother, Judd Apatow, and most notably, Diana Widmaier Picasso, the granddaughter of the legendary artist.

Also unlike most video shoots, the crowd was allowed to keep their phones on and recording and videos have already surfaced of the performance. The crowd was invited to create a cross-section between the world of New York and the cultural world within the music video. But Jay-Z isn’t the first to jump on the performance art bandwagon. Kanye West held an improptu performance during the Art Basel fair in Switzerland and the Brooklyn band, the Nationals, also performed for six straight hours back in May. Jay-Z’s performance signifies an important combination of both the music industry and the art world.

Mackenzie is an Alabama native attending NYU and studying Journalism and Dramatic Literature. She hopes to one day live in London and write for the BBC.