Jay Z’s performance of Picasso Baby with Marina Abramovic. Note the various high figures of the avant-garde attendant: Jim Jarmusch, Lawrence Weiner (he’s the guy that evokes the comment “Illuminati” noted at 1:00), Andres Serrano, George Condo, Diana Wildmaier Picasso, Judd Apatow, Alan Cumming, Fab Five Freddy, Adam Driver (of Girls fame). It was a real education in understanding the state of the Avant Garde Art world for me :
So what is Jay Z saying here with his lyrics (see below)? Sounds to me like he’s calling the avant-garde world of collectors, dealers and artists a bunch of imbeciles? Any opinions out there in art world land? Your interpretation, fellow avant-garde artists? Am I missing the avant-garde message in Jay Z’s lyrics? Anybody think anything about the lyrics, not to mention the fact that he told Marina Abramovic to go get lost by stiffing her on the promises he’d made to donate to her foundation and to promote Marina Abramovic.
What a louse! Tell the world, Marina! I threw all my Jay Z CDs in the trash upon hearing of this mistreatment!
Whatever the case these lyrics are certainly helping confirm the set of humanists values that Western artists have invariably strived to set through the years since Giotto set the stage for the Renaissance. At least I thought that’s what they were doing until being apprised by Marcel Duchamp that I had it all wrong. I’m hoping everyone will read these lryics carefully as they’re pretty deep and they certainly help confirm the values of American capitalism… He gets “hustle” in right up front in the second sentence. The Hustlers. We know how to hustle ya baby, like nobody’s bizness! If there are a few Deconstructionists in da house perhaps they’ll help me with the deeper underlying meanings. I think I have a fairly good grip on the first stanza. But I’m having trouble interpreting the second one. Anyone able to help me out with it? :
I’m a hassa, no, I’m an asshole
I’m never satisfied, can’t knock my hustle
I wanna Rothko, no, I want a brothel
No, I want a wife that fuck me like a prostitute
Let’s make love on a million
In a dirty hotel with the fan on the ceiling
All for the love of drug dealing
Marble floors, gold ceilings
Oh, what a feeling, fuck it, I want a billion
Jeff Koons balloons, I just wanna blow up
Condos in my condos, I wanna row of
Christie’s with my missy, live at the MoMA
Bacons and turkey bacons, smell the aroma
Oh, what a feeling
It ain’t hard to tell, I’m the new Jean-Michel
Surrounded by Warhols, my whole team ball
Twin bugattis outside the Art Basel
I just wanna live life colossal
Leonard Da Vinci flows
Riccardo Tisci Givenchy clothes
See me throning at the Met
Vogueing on these niggas, champagne on my breath, yes
House like the Louvre or the Tate Modern
Cause I be going ape at the auction
Oh what a feeling, aw, fuck it, I want a trillion
Sleeping every night next to Mona Lisa
The modern day version with better features
Yellow Basquiat in my kitchen corner
Go ‘head, lean on that shit Blue, you own it
blah blah blah for a bit then:
I never stuck my cock in the fox’s box but
Damned if I ain’t open Pandora’s box
They try to slander your man on CNN and Fox
My Mirandas don’t stand a chance with cops
Even my old fans like, “Old man, just stop”
I could if I would, but I can’t, I’m hot
And you blow, I’m still the man to watch
Hublot on my left or not
Soon I step out the booth, the camera pops
Niggas is cool with it ’til the canons pop
Now my hand on the Bible on the stand
Got your man in a jam again, got my hands in cuffs
I’m like goddamn enough
I put down the cans and they ran amok
My hairpin pierce skin, ruptures spleens
Cracks rib, go through cribs, and other things
No sympathy for the king, huh?
Niggas even talk about your baby crazy
Eventually the pendulum swings
Don’t forget America this how you made me
Come through with the ‘Ye mask on
Spray everything like SAMO, I won’t scratch the Lambo
What’s it gon take for me to go
For you to see, the modern day Pablo, Picasso baby
Is it just me, or does Jay Z appear to have twice the IQ of anybody else in his audience? It’s a good beat. Quite danceable. Very talented guy. As far as art, I’d take him any day of Duchamp or Banksy. Well, whatever else, Jay Z’s a good entertainer that can give me a real laugh, something that can’t be said about any of Duchamp’s myriad followers.
I also love the description by Barry Johnson of Marina about her sitting still and staring at Jay Z for his longer performance. Johnson writes: “The physical endurance required to set seemingly motionless for 8-10 a day for three months is extraordinary. ” Yeah,… I’ll bet she’d have have been a standout student under Chogyam when he was teaching in Boulder. Outstanding performance, Marina!
Pretty extraordinary. Jay Z has Marina sitting still for 8 to 10 hours a day. Then tells her to go get lost. … Perhaps this is where I get the idea that Jay Z is calling the avant-garde a bunch of morons? But what do I know? I don’t understand avant-garde art at all. I’m not bright enough to understand it, like everyone else in the art world. It’s clearly because I don’t read art criticism.
I’m also trying to write my own rap song… I don’t know music so I’ll just sample Jay Z’s beat as I think it’s pretty happenin stuff. I’m thinking of “White Niggah Blues”. So far I got:
Gotta be high to be gettin’ by
Like Bunuel wanna be slicin’ an eye
Ain’t my choice gonna be surreal til I die
I had any choice like Sinatra I’d fly.
Did he every screw Marilyn or was it just everyone else?
I’m confused. C’mon TMZ. I’ll put the book on my shelf.
You screws. You lose. Drown it all out with booze
And a handful of pills to give em all their thrills.
… hold it! Hold it!… Not Jay Z.. I think the rap will go to a sample of this tune below. Keepin’ it white, gotta be mellow and tight.. Now bring on the night. Bring on the nightmare. I could do with some more. Like Ballard wrote, what else is America for?:
And there’s also this just in from Chris Hedges on Donald Trump:
“Democracy, especially in the United States, is a farce, vomiting up right-wing demagogues such as Donald Trump, who has a chance to become the Republican presidential nominee and perhaps even president, or slick, dishonest corporate stooges such as Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and, if he follows through on his promise to support the Democratic nominee, even Bernie Sanders. The labels “liberal” and “conservative” are meaningless in the neoliberal order. Political elites, Democrat or Republican, serve the demands of corporations and empire. They are facilitators, along with most of the media and most of academia, of what the political philosopher Sheldon Wolin calls our system of ‘inverted totalitarianism.'”