Jay Z Defends Himself Against Marina Abramović Accusation with Proof of Donation

The rapper has the receipt.

Beyoncé and Jay-Z at the Costume Institute Benefit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2015. Photo: Patrick McMullan/Nicholas Hunt.

Rapper Jay Z is responding to charges by performance artist Marina Abramović, who has accused him of failing to make a promised donation to her performance art institute after she appeared in a music video for his song “Picasso Baby.”

“Thank you for your donation,” says a receipt from the Hudson, New York institute, according to New York dealer and “Picasso Baby” video producer Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn of Salon 94, who read parts of the document to artnet News over the phone Wednesday morning.

The receipt is marked with the number W984804 and acknowledges a substantial donation, Greenberg Rohatyn said.

Abramović told Spike Art Quarterly that Jay Z pledged to support her institute after making the music video, which adapted her famous performance in the Museum of Modern Art’s blockbuster retrospective “The Artist is Present.” Greenberg helped to organize the video shoot, which took place at New York’s Pace Gallery. Abramović told Spike that the gift never materialized.

Abramović did not immediately respond to a request for clarification, made via her dealer, New York’s Sean Kelly Gallery.

Jay Z and Marina Abramovic during the 2013 shoot for "Picasso Baby."Photo via Consequence of Sound.

Jay Z and Marina Abramovic during the 2013 shoot for “Picasso Baby.”
Photo via Consequence of Sound.

The song deploys art references to express the rapper’s taste for high-ticket possessions and other sensual gratifications: “I just want a Picasso, in my casa / No, my castle / I’m a hassa, no I’m an asshole / I’m never satisfied, can’t knock my hustle / I want a Rothko, no I want a brothel.”

Jay Z and his wife, the megastar singer Beyoncé, are avid art collectors. Eagle-eyed observers spotted works by David Hammons and Richard Prince in the video for Beyoncé’s single “7/11.” They’ve even dressed as art stars Frida Kahlo and Jean-Michel Basquiat for a costume party, and they visited Kara Walker’s provocative project at the Domino Sugar Factory in the summer of 2014. Beyoncé also used her homepage to promote the work of New York artist Hank Willis Thomas this winter.

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