Last night, we previewed Jay-z’s cover for GQ’s Man of the year. Now we have a chance to read the article. Check it out below.
They’re waiting for him at the gallery. They’re lined up in the foyer, as if for inspection. Ealan Wingate, who runs the place, nutty-professorial in a bow tie and blazer, stands with some gallery staffers, young women in heels and complicated blouses, their demeanor poised and professional, their eyes flashing OMG, OMG as the gallery doors open to let in the hard fall wind off the Hudson and also Shawn Corey Carter, better known from the Marcy Houses to Marrakech as Jay-Z. He’s wearing Timberlands, just-this-side-of-baggy jeans, a plain dark blue hoodie, and a look of regal amusement. Like, For me? He shakes everybody’s hand, introduces himself as “Jay.”
Jay is among the first rappers to name-drop his contemporary-art holdings in the same you-ain’t-up-on-this tone that other MCs employ when discussing their watches. He shouts out art-world superdealer Larry Gagosian in his verse on “That’s My Bitch,” from Watch the Throne, the collaborative album he and Kanye West released a few months ago. So we’re at one of Larry’s places, the warehouse-sized Gagosian Gallery on West 24th Street.
Wingate leads us into the main room, which currently houses Junction/Cycle, two mammoth sculptures by he-man minimalist Richard Serra (who happens to live around the corner from Jay in Tribeca). Curving walls of rust-brown steel cut the gallery into canyons. Wingate says we’re supposed to walk through them and think about memory, so we do; it’s kind of like an existential corn maze. Jay is clearly impressed by the sheer scale Serra’s working on, but he doesn’t linger. It’s not until Wingate takes us into a side room and shows us a big Cy Twombly triptych that I see him actually stopped short by what he’s looking at.