Thursday, July 18, 2013

What about Picasso Baby?

    Photographed by Mimi Ritzen Crawford

Recently a very erudite artist posted a question on his  status wall -

Is it possible to think of 'art, without thinking of the 'art world?'

Most of the answers were in a single emphatic word YES!
But take a second look. you will find question has many questions within.
And it cannot be answered in a simple word YES.
For example the question contains following questions-

Why we make 'art'? and for whom?

who is buying 'art'? and seeing it? who is talking and writing about it? 
Is there any intrinsic relationship between an 'art object' and its collector? and does viewer really matter?
If 'art' is done without the concern/gaze of art world?  then will that art be recognized by the 'art world'?
Ok .. let me stop this BS and put it this way-  Is today's art an insider job? where the artists, critic, curator, gallerist, collector collude and decide what should be ART? and therefore "art cannot be made without thinking of art world"?

I think Jay Z,  the celebrity hip hop singer  has answered this question through his recent performance. Now Jay Z needs no introduction. On 10th July he invited who is who of art world and his fans at the New York's Pace gallery to release his recent single presented in a ART Performance. Dressed in a squeaky white shirt , and equally squeaky white sneakers, adoring his trademark bling, Jay Z performed live for six hours , inviting artists , art critics gallerists to shake a leg with him while mouthing some famous names of the art world. One by one he would drag a celebrity audience on the stage look into their eyes and move in an impromptu gig. Marina Abramovic the doyen of the performance art was the highlight of the act. Dressed in a loose black gown she and Jay Z whirled around each other like two ferocious felines that are about to attack each other . In another video clip of the same performance showed an elderly lady wearing loose green shirt, with a a leg plastered in bandage circumambulating the dais in a children's scooter. While Jay Z gyrated in his regular hip hope moves, his guests moved in strange gestures that can be hardly identifiable to any dance forms. Some pretended talking. Some jumped like monkeys. In any case the whole performance was an impromptu tamasha. The world media covered the event as a marriage between two art movements, and labeled it pop- performance.

For moment you wonder Is this is art?
So I turned to lyrics which I could not hear while the performance was on.

It goes like this-

I just want a Picassso,/In my casa / No, My castle /I am a hassa/ No am an asshole
I am never satisfied/can't knock my hustle/ I wanna Rothko/ No I wanna brothel /
No/ I want a wife that fucks me like a prostitute/ Let's make love on a million/ In a dirty hotel/
with the fan on the ceiling /All for love of drug dealing / Marble floors / Gold ceilings/
Oh what a feeling / fuck it I want a billion/ Jeff Koons balloons / I just wanna blow up /
Condos in my condos / I wanna row of/ Chirstie's with my missy / Live a the MoMA/
Bacons and turkey bacons smell the aroma


Oh what a feeling / Picasso baby / Ca Picasso baby / Ca ca Picasso baby / Ca ca Picasso baby /
Oh what a feeling / Picasso baby / Ca Picasso baby /Ca ca Picasso baby, ca ca Picasso baby

It ain't hard to tell / I'm the new Jean Michel / Surrounded by Warhols /
My whole team ball / Twin Bugattis out side the Art Basel /I just wanna live life colossal/
Leonardo Da Vinci flows Riccardo Tisci Givenchy clothes / See me throning at Met
Vouging on these niggas/ Champagne on my breath/ Yes / House like the Louvre or the Tate Modern / Because I be going ape at the auction / Oh what a feeling / Aw fuck/ I want a trillion
Sleeping every night next to Mona lisa / The Modern day version / with better features
yellow Basquiat at my kitchen corner/ Go ahead lean on that shit Blue /You own it


Oh what a feeling / Picasso baby/ Ca Picasso baby / Ca ca Picasso baby / Ca ca Picasso baby/
Oh what a feeling / Picasso baby, Ca Picasso baby / Ca ca Picasso baby, ca ca Picasso baby

I never stuck my cock on the fox's box but / Dammed if I ain't open Pandora's box/
They try to slander you man/ On CNN and FOX/ My Miranda's don't stand a chance/ With cops/
Even my old fans like old man just stop /I could if I would but I can't
I am hot / And you blow /I'm still man to watch / Hublot / On my left hand or not/Soon I step out of the booth / The cameras pops niggas is cool with it / Till the cannons pop/ Now my hand on the Bible/ On the stand got your man in a jam / Again / Got my hands in cuff / I'm like god damn enough/ I put down the cans and the ran amok / My hairpin / Pierce skin ruptures spleens /
Crack rips, go through cribs and other things / No sympathy for the king huh / Niggas even talk About your baby crazy / Eventually the pendulum swings / Don't forget America this how you made me/ Come through with the 'Ye mask on'/ Spray something like SAMO/ I won't scratch the lambo/
What's it gonna to take / For me to go /For y'all to see/ I am the modern day Pablo/ Picasso baby

Lyrics of the song clearly  explains today's art scene very eloquently.  who makes art and for whom ? Who is buying  art? and for what reason he is buying it. It also explains why art should be made in first place? What the **** the art world is all about?   Doesn't it explains the 'existential dilemma' of today's artist when he says I am the modern day Pablo.?

This is nothing but art.
And hey if you don't trust my judgement,  here is esteemed critics words.

Jerry Saltz, NYC art critic, who was invited for the performance warned Jay Z that he is an art critic and he better watch out what he does on the stage. But after going through the six hour performance He writes,

“I went in doubting. I left elated. Any performer who can get a room full of strangers chanting, "Picasso baby" over and over again is good in my book. Better yet, Jay-Z even got me to actually start liking Marina Abramovic. That's art”

" Oh what a feeling/ Picasso baby/ Ca Picasso baby"
I am loving it!
if you want my honest answer.
The 'real' art happens out side the bounds of art world.
what happens in  the art world is "Picasso babies" 

Image courtesy

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Last Telegram

As I opened the door , courier boy thrust a small paper through the grill window.

"Sign here", it's a telegram" he said.
"What?!! A Telegram??? Are you sure you have got the right address?" I asked the man across the grill in a very bewildered tone.
I could not believe the word Telegram. who would want to send a telegram in this age? I wondered.

The man , in his mid forties definitely had no time or patience to appreciate my amusement and repeated the words now more sternly “ sign here”.
I signed on the paper he gave me  then he handed me a small printed paper in my hand.
I was still trying to make sense of the chit he had given me. “This will be one of the last telegrams you will ever receive. Open it carefully.” he muttered as he walked off.  It was a small printed chit stapled in one corner. As I  opened the stapled pin , it said


Of course some friends had used this last opportunity to send a telegram to wish their friends well.

Honestly, I had never seen  a telegram in my life. I did hear of it in my child hood through literature, movies and songs, but never had received one.

This would be my first and the last telegram of my life.  I would like to thank my friends for this special experience.

Telegraph service in India has 160 years of history. It was one the important services of communication of modern India and played a significant role during freedom struggle. People received news of birth, death, success failure joy and despair through a telegram. Often news of receiving  a telegram was linked to a tragic news. There are many bollywood songs that celebrated the life of postman for bringing that mail or a telegram. I can imagine how important this service might have been for the people during those days. It must have been as indispensable as today's email or sms . With time the technology might have changed but the essence of human communication and emotions remain the same.

On the 15th July 2013, the worlds' last telegram service will stop.
So long for a Telegram...

here are some interesting sites.