Art Worlds Collide in Jay-Z’s Invigorating “Picasso Baby” Film

Jay-Z "Picasso Baby" Performance Art Film

Jay-Z and Marina Abramović Face Off in “Picasso Baby” Performance Art Film

Artists of the body, mind, film, and music met forces with Jay-Z in an incredible performance art film for the rapper’s “Picasso Baby.”

Taking six hours to shoot at New York City’s Pace Gallery , the piece was directed by Mark Romanek who spoke about the project:

“Every inflection and emotion that he performed on that day is different than anything like what’s on the album. He’s laughing. And one woman in her 60s showed up who was so elegant that he literally became speechless. He said, ‘You’re making me lose my flow, but I’m gonna get it back in a minute.’

He stopped singing at times and just talked to people, he kissed people. What you’ll see is that it’s like a tsunami of joyfulness. It’s sort of the opposite of the tough-guy street-rapper cliché. Everyone is having such a good time and none of it is feigned. There’s not a single fake moment in it. It’s just a document of people having a really good time, Jay included.”

The unique and intimate experience included several familiar faces such as actress Taraji P. Henson , hip-hop pioneer Fab 5 Freddy , actor Michael K. Williams , actress Rosie Perez , rapper Wale , and GIRLS ‘ actress Jemima Kirke .

The most talked about appearance will likely be from self-proclaimed “grandmother of performance art” Marina Abramović .

Produced by Timbaland and Jerome “J-Roc” Harmon , “Picasso Baby” appears on Jay’s twelfth studio album Magna Carta… Holy Grail , which debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200, selling 528,000 copies in its first week.

Originally releasing for free to one million listeners through a Samsung app on July 4th, the album has so far sold 733,000 copies. Enjoy the “Picasso Baby” Performance Art Film below.

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Editor-in-Chief at Sinuous Magazine, designer, and founder of NYC-based boutique design firm theComplex Media & Design. I've been designing for 14 years, writing on the internet for about the same, and I appear on radio and podcasts under the name "Lanaé Mc'Levans." Photographer and overall geek who is passionate about art, music, politics, technology, fashion, and women's issues. A serial day-dreamer. Foul-mouthed. Opinionated.