HBO's Picasso Baby: Jay Z Raps the Cult of Celebrity
That's my first reaction to HBO's latest pseudo-experiment in high culture, Jay Z's live performance titled Picasso Baby: A Performance Art Film.
My documentarian eye was jarred by the constant cutting of footage chronicling the rapper's six hour live performance at Chelsea's Pace Gallery. Performance art, yes; film, most definitely. This piece was so heavily edited (6 hours down to 11 minutes) that I couldn't keep track of what was going on most of the time. Look, there he is singing to some well-dressed woman -- oh wait, now it's Adam Driver; now it's some other well-dressed woman ... oh, wait, now its Jemima Kirke, and look ... Judd Apatow! The celebrities filtered into the crowd killed the notion that this was art for the people. No, this is art for HBO -- so why not plug a few other shows in our lineup while we're at it?
At one point the velvet ropes are let down and the crowd is encouraged to approach at a safe distance. Jay Z begins to rap about sticking his cock in the fox's box and we catch a glimpse of one mother covering her young girl's ears before we cut to a shot of older women dancing with the rap star. How young is too young to be initiated into the cult? When does it become charming to become nothing more than a fox's box?