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From Marcy to Chelsea

Jay-Z raps “Picasso Baby” at Marina Abramovic in Pace Gallery

Not even Nas could stop Jay-Z from this take over. Thanks to a deal with Samsung, Jay-Z’s latest album, Magna Carta Holy Grail,  sold a million copies before it was even released. His single (which sucks) has been playing everywhere and the new album is being debated and talked about as if it’s scripture found in a cave upstate.

I have to hand it to Jay-Z, who is not only one of the best rappers of all time, but has let his work grow with his life. Thank god he’s not pretending to sling keys or stand on street corners any more. Instead, he’s rich as alfredo and expanding his presence into new territory. The latest place he’s gone is artworld central: Chelsea.

He has a track called “Picasso Baby” on his latest album. And in a clever mixture of art, marketing, and music, he did a six-hour performance of that one track in Pace Gallery yesterday. Opinionated and world-weary as always, Jerry Saltz was there and has the blow-by-blow.


Number of spot paintings in the Hirst Empire

Damien Hirst /
Damien Hirst /

You might say an artist is bad when a newspaper graphic about their work makes you feel more than their work ever did. The New York Times has a story today about artist Damien Hirst’s spot paintings, which have been a subject of much speculation and argument. They are basically polka dots made with house paint. Most of them are done by Hirst’s assistants. And they fetch a handsome price on the market, which could cause some unease among those looking to protect their “investments.” NYT:

For buyers, dealers and auction houses, the prospect of an unlimited supply was a complication. A flooded market might affect the paintings’ future value — not a small worry when they can cost as much as $3.4 million.

Now the number is out. There are 1,365 spot paintings — for now. Hirst and his assistants are still making them so that number is going to go up. Their value to me most likely will not change.

The NYT has produced a nice graphic for those looking to see trends. The graphic confirms artworld values we already know: the bigger the painting, the more it will sell for (most likely). The earlier and the later work isn’t worth as much as the prime period (mostly). Amanda Cox’s graphic says more than Hirst’s paintings ever could:

Damien Hirst's spot painting prices / Amanda Cox,
Damien Hirst’s spot painting prices / Amanda Cox,

Warren Wilson gets $2.1 million for arts

"SpoonFed" show at Center for Craft, Creativity and Design
“SpoonFed” show at Center for Craft, Creativity and Design

The Windgate Foundation has given Warren Wilson College $2.1 million for new faculty, facilities, and a strong partnership with the Center for Craft, Creativity and Design:

The Windgate Charitable Foundation awarded the liberal arts college a $2.1 million grant to enhance its art department, with the intent of making Western North Carolina a recognized center for craft study.

The three-year grant will provide the department with studio craft and material arts and foster a closer partnership between Warren Wilson and The Center for Craft, Creativity & Design. The funding will also increase faculty and staff positions, including a full-time teaching position in sculpture and greater support for woodworking, fiber arts and blacksmithing, the school said.