The performance artist isn’t happy with her 2013 collaboration with the rapper.
Back in July 2013, Marina Abramovic made an appearance at Jay Z’s six-hour performance of ‘Picasso Baby’, an event inspired by her 2010 MoMA exhibition The Artist Is Present. At the time, Abramovic’s spokespeople claimed that Jay “intends to offer the institute some other form of ongoing support” in a “long-durational collaboration,” while a spokesperson for Roc Nation said: “Yes, Mr. Carter is confirmed to make a donation.”
In a new interview, Abramovic claims that Jay Z didn’t live up to his end of the deal, describing the performance as a “one-way transaction.” “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,” she says.
“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,” she explains. “This is very different from Lady Gaga, for example, who has done great work for me. Just by having 45 million followers, she brought all these young kids into my public.”
Asked if she regretted working with Jay Z, she says that she doesn’t look at things that way: “I do this because I believe in it. I feel responsible for performance in general.”
However, don’t look for any further collaborations in the same vein: “In the end it was only a one-way transaction. 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.”
Update: New York art dealer and ‘Picasso Baby’ video producer Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn tells Artnet that she has a receipt from Abramovic’s institute that “acknowledges a substantial donation.” Abramovic has since issued an apology to Jay Z.