Jay-Z turns ‘Magna Carta…Holy Grail’ into performance art

Last night Jay-Z performed his new song “Picasso Baby” for six hours at the Pace Gallery in Chelsea, New York. One Song. Six Hours. Hov was a few hours and a pair of sneakers away from a filibuster.


While “Magna Carta…Holy Grail” received less than stellar reviews, Jay-Z did make it clear that in addition to being an artist he’s also an art man. Picasso, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Francis Bacon are name-dropped throughout “MCHG.”

For those that haven’t heard “Picasso Baby,” this should go without saying by now, but many of the lyrics are NSFW.

So who was there for this work of art? (Looking at the sea of cameras and cellphones surrounding him, the better question might be who wasn’t there.)

D.C.’s own Wale was in the building. (And judging by his Instagram feed, he might have a crush on Taraji P. Henson. Just saying…)

Lena Dunham was there. She didn’t get to dance with Jay-z, but her mom did:

The Smithsonian experienced a little deja vu with one woman Jay-Z serenaded. Performance artist, Marina Abramovic spoke at the Smithsonian in 2011. Wonder if Jay-Z took her advice on how to make it as a performance artist: “If you want to be a performance artist, you have to have stamina. Physical and mental. Some kind of disposition to make the work of art.”

Many snapped photos of this moment. Wale again.

 

And this guy:

 

In addition to “the grandmother of performance art, “Jay-Z shared the platform with a bevy of breakers, contemporary dancers, a few baby dancers, performance artists and even Picasso’s granddaughter, Diana Widmaier Picasso.

 

Veronica Toney is a writer and digital editor at The Washington Post.
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Veronica Toney · July 11, 2013