Shoot Up Tha Club, Ooops I Mean Shoot Up the Gallery!
Shoot Up tha Club, Oops I mean Shoot Up tha Gallery. I thought this was interesting. Nooo, not that woman from the south who cooks gourmet diabetes on a plate cuisine, but the art act by Jay Z aka Jaz, aka Beyonce’s husband or “who that dude that married my wife? aka $ with a microphone, has created a “video” not necessarily a traditional performance art piece, although I’m not against calling it that. Jay shot a video in Pace gallery in New York for a song titled Picasso (I’m not gonna touch that one) baby off his new album Magna Carta Holy Grail. We can talk about the irony regarding commerce, art and rap or Jay being part of the one percent group. We can talk about this as a redundant Kanye’s happening. But is it? Nope, they’re two different cats, two different types of performances, two different rap flows in two different contexts. If they all look alike, then they must all create alike as well huh?
This Jay Z deal leaves me a bit torn in the middle; however, I think shooting a video in a gallery with the art crowd is a cool thing to do. It doesn’t matter if it’s successful or not, which isn’t that important. Can we fail sometimes? Dang! I think the idea of doing it open doors for others to tighten up the gesture and do it better. (I don’t mean some wack rapper who went to art school who knows all of the art history but can’t flow)…lets’ not make general assumptions that if you’re not in art school you have no knowledge of what art is or more importantly, what art can be. What gets my attention is the hip in hypocrisy not the hip in hip-hop. It’s always interesting to see how people carry their hidden yet eventually transparent, elitist views on their person, in their purses, wallets, suit square pockets and laptop messenger bags when amongst their peer groups; who interestingly, are the same groups who claim to be absolved of any “elitist” ways. (laughing out louder than you). There are all types of discussions on what art is, what art is not, art is dead, new art has been born, blah, blah, blah. Those conversations are beginning to fall upon death ears as the art walls begin collapsing and allowing other voices in to define their truths about what art is to them. Don’t get me wrong, art history is a fundamental requisite if you’re interested in being an artist, but lets not overlook the vast whitewashing of other artists from the art history canon.
Let’s say Jay’s intention was to make a video and also possibly place this into an art context. I ask how is this not performance art, if it’s his intent? Why can’t he do that? Why does it escape people’s memories that many new art forms broke away from its predecessor’s past methods and materials, introducing us to newer forms? Many times these forms that are joined are not what people assume should be partnered. I personally dislike when things in the past are described as dead. I prefer they coexist with the new. It’s apparent in this “high” art world that some of its representatives, prefer the “past is dead” western take on things.
I mean (I’m not gonna mention all those who came before this post) I give them credit and respect but they are not all there is to performance art when you add other cultures and ethnicities into the mix. You wanna talk about Chris Burden’s “Shoot” piece? In the 80’s and 90’s with the crack epidemic; they did that in the inner city every other day around where I lived. If you wanna talk about Mary Abramovic (who joined Jay and seemed to inspire this video) staring piece, my moms could stare you into submission then admission of any wrong doing. That belt in her left hand was also an incentive. You’ve never seen a female teen stare another female teen face to face, walk off shimmy and give her a circle z snap? This, my friend is art and life. Relational and the aesthetics embedded. Ok, it’s obvious I’m being a bit facetious here but it’s just that people shouldn’t be afraid of a little change particularly when it comes from a different side of the tracks, borough, bayou, or space crater. If you’re in this art world claiming acceptance and open minds, then those things shouldn’t wane when an “other” comes along to add to the mix. Let’s throw away the obvious point that this may be some promotional gimmick. Are you telling me that “some” of these performance artists aren’t promoting themselves? Are all the artists in the world flooded with a high surplus of moral integrity? You believe ‘dat? Puleeeze. If you do, I have a bridge, nope scratch that; I have a bayou to sell you. You can get the bridge for half price if you buy both. Many of these art cats have you fooled. They’re as opportunistic as the rest of the lot. Some of the galleries; the institutions; the museums; the writers and the art goers as well, are all responsible for it’s highs and lows.
Jay Z has definitely changed the game by placing this video in an art gallery and has people talking about it. But I think that’s a basic view of it. One can argue that rap doesn’t belong in that type of space because of the possibility of a controlling force over it, the artists who created it and the audience it’s intended for. I can agree but could counter argue that rap exists in all spaces; the urban, suburbs, rural areas, schools and corporate spaces. We may not want it there but it holds its own wherever it finds itself, so why not a gallery? I think juxtaposing (a early 2000’s cliché term) the art holy space and its attendants beside the unholy gritty, dirty, place called rap makes a bigger point and that is to expose the falsities of the faux art liberal, hypocritical, elitist thinking in the art world. There will be guaranteed responses from people 1. People will diss him and say rap is not art. What they really mean to say is that they don’t think rap is art or anything associated with it is and won’t be part of their “high”art culture unless the gatekeepers say so; and only as a dumb, watered down version. But what they really, really mean is that they don’t care how many millions you make, it’s still “c”rap and only tolerate you because of your money like we do everyone else here. But what they really, really, really mean is you can’t change this understanding of what art means, challenge them on their perceptions and/or their opinions about it. But what they really, really, really, really mean is that since you have not spent all that money on B.As, MBA.s PHD’s or EPMD’s (ohh wait, I’ve went too far) you have no right to invade their space.
You may want to get you an academic passport for that or see if Dr. Who can vouch for you on a trip to the future where this may not be an issue. Are you kidding me? !!!! People are still arguing if rap is musical or real music…lol I’m arguing if people are still human these days. I’m telling you, sometimes I just wanna get alienized and leave this planet. Maybe I should just hook up with a couple of Oankali because these folks here on earth are kinda cray. Again, I think it’s important to see what the intent is and not the audacity to do so. It is important to note that rap has no boundaries and can exist anywhere the author chooses to place it. I think there are preferences and that is fine. We should understand that rap has not really lost it’s bang but the public coverage and support for “different” contents of rap has lost it’s bang and what Jay Z is doing may be (one) way of bringing some of that bang back by moving it around in different spaces. Bang, Bang, Shoot ‘em up.