It usually takes the first VIP day of an art fair for the celebrity-spotting to begin, but it looks like one candidate showed up early this time. Just days ahead of the annual Frieze art fair, Jay-Z made the rounds at the much-anticipated London exhibitions last Thursday.
That night saw the rapper and music executive at two high-profile events, the first a performance by Brooklyn-based artist Torkwase Dyson at the new Mayfair location for international mega-gallery Pace, where the gallery’s performance curator Mark Beasley captured a photo of him watching raptly for an Instagram story. As it happens, Dyson’s uncle, Michael Eric Dyson, is the author of the well-received 2019 biography Jay-Z: Made in America. Jay-Z also has a history with Pace: he recorded a video at the gallery’s New York space in 2013 for his song “Picasso Baby” featuring Marina Abramović and other art world notables.
Next stop, London: the opening of curator Antwaun Sargent’s Gagosian exhibition, “Social Works II,” the first edition of which was exhibited at the gallery’s New York space. Like “Social Works I,” the London show spotlights the works of artists of the African diaspora to consider themes of public and private space. Sargent, who got a picture with Jay-Z for social media, and who earlier this year year guest-edited an issue of ARTnews‘s sister publication, Art in America, is no stranger to celebrity; he was recently table mates with Madonna at a different event.
Jay-Z and Beyoncé are prolific art collectors; they own works by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Derrick Adams, and many other artists. The couple recently posed with a Basquiat for a Tiffany ad campaign, and in June, an NFT that Jay-Z commissioned from Adams went up for sale.