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Marina Abramovic Was Wrong About Jay Z, Rapper Did Donate to Cause Despite “User” Claims

Marina Abramovic is not happy with Jay Z and his "Picasso Baby" music
Marina Abramovic is not happy with Jay Z and his "Picasso Baby" music video 

UPDATE: Soon after Marina Abramovic's interview picked up steam, her institute released a statement to walk her claims back. While the artist criticized Jay Z for allegedly not donating to her art museum, reps for the organization confirmed on Thursday that the rapper did, in fact, make good on his promise.

"Marina Abramovic was not informed of Shawn 'Jay Z' Carter's donation from two years ago when she recently did an interview with Spike Magazine in Brazil," the Marina Abramovic Institute said in a statement to the New York Times. "We are sincerely sorry to both Marina Abramovic and Shawn 'Jay Z' Carter for this, and since then we have taken to appropriate actions to reconcile this matter."

The original story continues below.

Can't knock the hustle. In mid-2013, Jay Z enlisted celebrated performance artist Marina Abramovic for his "Picasso Baby" music video, mirroring the star's signature Artist Is Present style. Now, almost two years after the video debuted, Abramovic is taking issue with the collaboration. 

Abramovic, 68, slammed Jay Z in a new interview with Spike magazine, claiming that she did the video as a part of an agreement with the rapper, who allegedly didn't fulfill his part of the bargain. 

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"There was one reason for this that I can't talk about," she told Spike of the "Picasso Baby" video. "I am very pissed by this, since he adapted my work only under one condition: That he would help my institute — which he didn't."

"He came to my office and I gave him an entire PowerPoint presentation and said, 'Okay, you can help me, because I really need help to build this thing,'" continued the artist, who has previously worked with stars such as Lady Gaga in support of her Marina Abramovic Institute. "Then he just completely used me. And that wasn’t fair. This is very different from Lady Gaga, for example, who has done great work for me. Just by having 45 million followers, she brought all these young kids into my public."

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While Jay Z, 45, may not have contributed to the art institute in the way that Abramovic expected, his talked-about "Picasso Baby" video — shot at New York City's hip Pace Gallery with a crowd of fans —undoubtedly brought the Serbian artist to a new audience. Released on HBO in August 2013, the visuals earned a Grammy nomination for Best Music Video. 

Abramovic showed a much different attitude toward the project in the original music video. At the end of the clip, she is shown embracing Jay Z and blowing him kisses. "It was great, there was so much energy," she told a reporter at the event, as shown in the video. "It is also wonderful for visual artists because the borders, different mediums, and music being always the most immaterial form of art, which is so wonderful."

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"I didn’t feel much," she told Spike of filming the video. "There are hundreds of people adapting my work. I have young pop groups who adapt my work… And in the end it was only a one-way transaction. I will never do it again, that I can say. Never. I was really naive in this kind of world. It was really new to me, and I had no idea that this would happen. It’s so cruel, it’s incredible. I will stay away from it for sure." 

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