When Marina Abramovic went forehead-to-forehead with Jay Z for his six-hour "Picasso Baby" performance at Pace Gallery, it was a staring spectacle not unlike her own staring spectacle, The Artist Is Present. And she was flattered. "If he was inspired by something that I did, I wanted to be there and be part of it," she told us at the 20th Annual Watermill Center Summer Benefit this weekend. "For me, it’s very important that the rapper community and the Twitter [community] actually start Googling to understand what performance art is. It’s really important that I can shift the public from the one field [i.e., pop music] to the arts, which rarely happens. So, this was really very meaningful thing."
Abramovic is also collaborating with James Franco on a movie about ... James Franco. ("I am editing his life," she told us earlier in the year. "I can't explain. I am interested in this phenomenon, James Franco.") When we asked where she was in the editing process, she said, "We just made the trailer ... It really is about James Franco, but it’s also about Hollywood. It’s about so many aspects of Hollywood as an industry, so it’s a very complex movie ... He’s definitely a good actor. But he also tries everything else. He is really breaking the rules, and you are going to see this in this movie. I am not shooting any scenes with him; I am not doing any interviews with him. I am just editing existing material, which is enormous. And, at the end, we have the question, Who is James Franco?" The answer? [She shakes her head "no."] "That will reveal everything."