A month after shooting the music video of the Timbaland and J-Roc-produced track "Picasso Baby" at the Pace Gallery in New York, Roc Nation mogul and platinum-selling hip-hop artist Jay-Z premieres the finished product, a performance art film by director Mark Romanek. The lengthy, almost eleven-minute visuals features Hov performing the "Magna Carta... Holy Grail" track in front of other celebrities and fans alike.
Among the artists that Jay-Z raps right in the face of are New York-based Serbian performance artist Marina Abramovic, writer Judd Apatow, dance hall artist Magazeen, spoken word poet Nichelle Broner, actors Alan Cumming and Adam Driver, artist Marcel Dzama, and performer Radical Phoenixx. Hip-hop pioneer Fab Five Freddy, director Roselee Goldberg, actress Taraji P. Henson, filmmaker Jim Jarmusch, artist Rashid Johnson, and art dealer Sandra Gering also appear in it.
Fans circled around the rap superstar as he put on a performance art piece of sorts for everyone at the gallery, rapping in front of the different artists that came to join him as he performed for six straight hours just to come up with the footage. The short film was apparently inspired by Abramovic, said Romanek.
"I was aware of Marina Abramovic's Artist is Present, even though I was in London shooting 'Never Let Me Go' and didn't get to go. And the idea that Jay-Z regularly performs to 60,000 people at a time, I thought, 'What about performing at one person at a time?' " Romanek revealed.