did the art world just jump the shark? jay-z at pace

It started with my 
Instagram feed blowing-up with 
strange pictures of art world luminaries being
serenaded by someone who looked amazingly like 
I thought what is this must be a performance artist sarcastically 
mimicking Jay-Z in a gallery
somewhere in Chelsea,
(it was Pace Gallery)
but then as more pics scrolled in,
I realized this wasn't a joke,
or an appropriator doing a performance piece,
but a real stunt,
with a real Jay-Z
performing behind a tiny wire rope.
(like the once you see in front of great works of art in a museum)

Remember that TV episode on Happy Days
with Fonzie and a Shark?
That hit me immediately and it was right then that I thought
 the Art World had just

How on earth could Laurence Weiner and Maria Abramovic,
two huge figures in the art world,
well respected and groundbreaking in their practices, 
sit there with a straight face as a rapper
performed for the cameras to film his next music video?
To me there was something very disturbing and sad
about this crass and blatant exploitation
of art world heroes
(and they weren't the only ones, even critic Jerry Saltz got in on the action)
to justify a performer's search for even more dollars.
(like he needs them)
I'm not a writer or a critic,
so I will let others dissect this spectacle for what it really was,
and god knows this has been a long time coming,
but something just isn't right,
and I fear that after this "jump"
it is only gonna get worse.
And for those of you in the Design World
who think we are immune, remember that 
Kanye West 
performed at Design Miami/Basel.
(which I saw and was freaked-out by too)
all of it,
and not in a good way in my opinion.
Sad really,
really sad....

Read Guy Trebay's commentary
in the New York Times.

Photo via Rolumatt via Artists Space


  1. My first reaction was also a bit of revulsion. There is a real pathos about thisl but then I thought a bit.... it is quite refective of where we have got with almost no ground left to break and desperate search to create "new" art from nothing seems to reflect things. If it had not been the real Jay-Z would that have been easier and made us feel less uncomfortable.... Maybe Laurence Weiner and Maria Abramovic are ahead of the game? Still give me a Noguchi Ceramic.

  2. A rapper in a museum is what did it?
    The "art world" jumped the shark the moment pretentious douchebags started referring to it as the 'art world'.

    1. Yeah AOL, that's what did it for me. I guess things in Douchebag World are just fine, but in the Art World we are barely keeping it together. God bless you and yours. -MB

  3. I think we should refer to it as the "art kingdom" from now on. I also think we should remove "pretentious" from common use, It makes the user sound like a fucking art student.

  4. I think this is a sad, but telling statement on where we are presently in society. We all want art, - meaningful art to be a part of our lives- but this pathetic attempt shows you we have a long way to go.... something brilliant will emerge however... it always does.

  5. i dont get it . here in the freud / muehl/ strauss city of vienna it seems no problem when johnny appleseed meets linda lovelace

  6. appreciate your commentary and (brief) insight
    the picture with Jay-Z and Lawrence Weiner is tragic.
    Weiner as shark?
    Keep up the good work.

  7. its not THAT sad if you chalk it up to people having a good time. Weiner didn't do a collab work with Jay-Z, he just sat there being praised. not a huge deal IMO...