Sunday, March 30, 2014

Drake fux with Turrell.

Recently Hyperallergic reported that rapper Drake was interested in purchasing a work by renowned light/perceptual artist James Turrell. There have also been reports that a 'sign' that the art world bubble is about to burst is in the citation of artworks in hip-hop lyrics. While this is not a new phenomenon I have noticed it more often in younger artists' work and recent songs--from A$ap Rocky to HOVA and Kanye.

 The loaded insinuations around hip-hop and the art world have been rather problematic and had connotations uncomfortable to grapple with that relate to the nature of the institutions making up the art world, and how deeply entrenched within those institutions is the idea of "high culture" and being a beacon of light onto the ("less"-enlightened) masses.

While I am fully in support of the arts as a medium for human expression, the disconnect between the rather insular art/museum world and the community, despite efforts on both parties' parts, continue to elude the best experts and art lovers. Additionally, art doing away with the supposed disconnect between high and low skillfully navigates both worlds but is not often willing to admit the cultural products of people of color (or other 'niches,' for example hip-hop, when in the highest of the highest echelons and recognition, that comes to mind).  Could you imagine Richard Hamilton or Andy Warhol's most famous works incorporating, say, images from Ebony Magazine, or multiples of Chuck Berry instead of Elvis?

Having been fully in under-funded and underprivileged circles that admire production in an authentic way of people of color in an arts capacity, and well-funded and privileged circles that admire production from similarly privileged circles, the problem of 'ne'er shall the two meet' is seemingly intractable. Now that this problem's become more notable from articles insinuating that hip-hop (read: low/mass/nonwhite/black culture) having a handle on art (or Sean Combs re-re-nee Puff Daddy) means a death knell is sounding for *The* Art World Proper (It may be noted that there are those within hip-hop noting Jay-Z's Abramovic-heavy-art-world-forays were possibly a sign that his hip-hop apex is over, as well).

1 comment:

  1. In this context, it makes a lot more sense to me that Basquiat is the most referenced artist (Jay-Z and A$AP both referenced him on their latest records, and apparently so has Frank Ocean?) from the art world. Basquiat got chewed up and spit out by these institutional racial tensions. Jay-Z calling himself the new Jean-Michelle and performing at Moma is a way of continuing to fight these tensions.