What does Pace Gallery, Lena Dunham’s mom, and Twitter all have in common?
They were all obsessed with Jay-Z this afternoon, after the rapper surprise showed up to Pace Gallery in Manhattan, where Vines of Jay-Z dancing amongst museum-goers –presumable to be turned into some kind of music video — quickly dominated social feeds. Take that, Tilda Swinton!
Admittance to watch Jay-Z lip-sync/performance art his new track off Magna Carta Holy Grail, “Picasso Baby,” required a golden ticket of sorts, an invite-only white piece of paper that was emailed to lucky members of the art, media and – according to at least one person EW spoke with outside – even the 40/40 club membership list yesterday. The paper, after check-in in another building, allowed a lucky few into the gallery to pretend to party with Jay-Z.
Outside the gallery, which, around 4:00 local time this afternoon was populated with over 100 fans attempting in vain to get inside the guarded big white doors, EW caught up with a few of the dancers/performers who’d been hired as background, and even they didn’t find out that it was a Jay-Z video until earlier that day. “It was all hidden,” explained Nicole Page, one in a group of six performers that were waiting in the 90-degree weather for their call time. “We were told it was for a Mark Romanek [who directed Jay-Z's "99 Problems"] video. We don’t know anything except what the time frame is. …We’ve been here since this morning.”
For Manhattanites who instantly booked it downtown upon hearing of the Jay-Z sightings, the mixed reviews of Magna Carta (Read EW’s review) had no place in this line, full of people who were eager to profess that the rapper’s 12th studio album was among his best yet. “F—ing awesome!” one line member yelled to EW. Aaron Cho, a twenty-something fan who was hopeful to get a glimpse of his idol, also couldn’t help but gush: “[I] love it, especially “Picasso Baby.” I work in the art industry and I love that Jay-Z is talking about art. It’s really related to the music world as well. ‘I want to be a billionaire’ It sounds greedy but it’s awesome at the same time.”
For fan Sal Emelin, who has been to five Jay-Z concerts, even the importance of a grad school final couldn’t slow down his attempt to rush to the gallery. “[Magna Carta Holy Grail is] one of his best albums. I expected it to be a so-so album, due to him not really promoting [it],” he explained. “…It’ll take time for people to really listen to it and let it settle in their minds. History will show it to be one of Jay-Z’s top albums.”
Alas, even great spin like that doesn’t immediately get you inside.