Jay Z has been around for a while, which means he knows thing or two about putting on a killer performance. Thanks to his newest music video, however, the rapper can now officially call himself a performance artist.
In “Picasso Baby,” Jay Z supports the arts by putting on a performance art presentation in front of fans and a few famous faces.
If you’re new to performance art, here’s what you need to know. According to the Museum of Modern Art, performance art is the term applied to “‘live’ presentations by artists.” During “The Artist Is Present” exhibit, Marina Abramovic sat in front of museum goers, turning the viewer into the one who is viewed. When she heard Jay Z wanted to employ some elements of her exhibit, she was thrilled. She said it’s “very important that the rapper community and the Twitter [community] actually start Googling to understand what performance art is. ... It's really important that I can shift the public from the one field [i.e., pop music] to the arts.”
+ Watch Jay Z Perform “Picasso Baby.”
For the film, Jay Z teamed up with Mark Romanek, the man behind the artist’s “99 Problems” video all those years ago, to put together a performance-art film for the rapper’s “Picasso Baby” track. Filmed over the course of six hours in a vast, white room at Milk Studios in New York City, Jay performed his song multiple times as each person in the room took turns standing or sitting in front of him. Most of those who attended were fans of the rapper, but some famous faces, including Judd Apatow, Taraji P. Henson, Jenna Lyons and Alan Cumming, took turns squaring off with Jay.
If you want to take Jay’s lead and support the arts, you can do so by checking out the action widgets below.