The event, “Picasso Baby” was a session of one on one interactions with Jay Z. Yes, he performed for individuals, one at a time. Because of the intimate nature of the piece, Jay Z was live rapping for six whole hours.
Mark Romanek both derived the concept of the event, and directed its accompanying half hour documentary set to air on HBO.
Romanek’s inspiration for the project was the 2012 film Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present, that followed the series of the Serbian Artists one on one interactions with people visiting New Yorks Museum of Modern Art.
Romanek quickly because intrigued with the intimacy of the documentary, and pitched to Jay, “’You regularly perform to 60 or 80,000 people at a time. What if you performed for one person at a time? What if it was like Marina’s piece,” Romanek told HuffingtonPost.
Romanek had to debate whether or not he wanted to direct another music video when Jay suggested another collaboration; the answer was no.
"But do I want to work with Jay Z on this amazing album? The answer was absolutely, so how do we invent a new thing that we would both be excited by?" Romanek said.
Romanek’s directorial credits include the music video for Fiona Apple’s “Criminal,” Johnny Cash’s “Hurt,” and unsurprisingly Jay Z’s “99 Problems.” He also directed the 2002 Robin Williams Film One Hour Photo and Never Let Me Go starring Carey Mulligan and Andrew Garfield.
Check out the preview for Picasso Baby on HBO below: