In an interview with Spike Art Quarterly, Marina Abramović just accused Jay Z of breaking a deal with her. The rapper recorded a video for his song Picasso Baby at Pace Gallery in the summer 2013 and supposedly riffed on Abramović’s performance The Artist is Present, from her MoMA retrospective. She told Spike‘s Kolja Reichert:
“I will never do it again, that I can say. Never. I was really naive in this kind of world. It was really new to me, and I had no idea that this would happen. It’s so cruel, it’s incredible. I will stay away from it for sure.”
“But there was one reason for this that I can’t talk about. I am very pissed by this, since he adapted my work only under one condition: that he would help my institute. Which he didn’t.”
The day before, he came to my office and I gave him an entire power point presentation and said: okay, you can help me, because I really need help to build this thing. Then he just completely used me. And that wasn’t fair.”
During the performance, the people in attendance were invited to dance with Hova, who rapped directly to them. Abramović said participants were…
“totally used,” and “came out with nothing.”
She described it as a one-way transaction. Along with invited art-world folks, VIPs like MoMA curator Klaus Biesenbach, artists Marilyn Minter and George Condo, New York magazine critic Jerry Saltz and his wife New York Times critic Roberta Smith, Abramović took part in the shoot too. It’s not the first time she has bitched in print, though. She complained in the Times magazine in 2012 that MoMA had used her, even though her friend Klaus Biesenbach had arranged the show:
“I got so little I don’t want to tell…” she then tells and says she was paid only $100,000 for her performance, which covered “one year of my work, plus how much I pay for assistants and office rent.”
Because it’s Jay Z, I’ll bet the mainstream media picks up on this gripe. Artnet couldn’t reach Jay Z – let’s see if Access Hollywood can…?
UPDATE: Jay Z has responded to the above charges:
“Thank you for your donation,” says a receipt from the Hudson, New York institute, according to New York dealer and Picasso Baby video producer Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn of gallery Salon 94, who read the document to Artnet over the phone. The receipt is marked with the number W984804 and acknowledges a “substantial” donation, Greenberg Rohatyn said.
Marina, what say you? Was the “substantial” donation not enough…?
(Photo, Consequence of Sound; via artnet)