THE INTERSECTION OF ART AND MUSIC is increasingly ever present. Several new examples emerged over the past week. A cartoon-like action figure of Pharrell Williams entitled “Happy” was presented at the Perrotin Gallery booth at Art Basel Hong Kong (March 15-17). According to ARTnews, the small-scale sculpture by Japanese artist Mr. was issued in an edition of 30, priced at $20,000.

Then the season finale of new television series “Empire” aired on March 18. The runaway hit about a family-run hip hop label has featured art by Kehinde Wiley hanging in the home of music mogul Lucious Lyons, the drama’s main character who, ironically, is homophobic.

Jazz pianist Jason Moran and artist Theaster Gates were in conversation at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C. on March 19. The pair collaborated last year on “Looks of a Lot,” a live performance commissioned by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. The event featured a screening of a documentary that captured the development of the project through its final performance, followed by a discussion between Gates and Moran.

Finally, a prestigious art school announced it is bestowing an honorary doctorate degree on Kanye West. Afrika Bambaataa spun records at the Guggenheim. And Drake has been tapped to select the music for an exhibition at Sotheby’s.

Kanye West to Receive Honorary Doctorate

This year’s commencement at the School of Art Institute Chicago (SAIC) will feature Kanye West. The school announced that West is among five who will receive honorary doctorates at its May 11 graduation ceremony. “[Kanye West] should have gone here. He would have been a perfect SAIC student — he likes to shake people out of complacency,” Lisa Wainwright, dean of faculty and vice president of academic administration at SAIC, told the Chicago Tribune.

The other recipients are Douglas Druick, president and Eloise W. Martin Director of the Art Institute of Chicago museum; Chicago gallerist Rhona Hoffman; Janet Neiman, an artist and SAIC alum; and commencement speaker Albert Oehlen, an acclaimed contemporary German artist. Last year, Chicago-based Theaster Gates received the SAIC honor and addressed students.

“[Kanye West] should have gone here. He would have been a perfect SAIC student — he likes to shake people out of complacency.”
— Lisa Wainwright, dean of faculty and vice president of academic administration at SAIC

Afrika Bambaataa DJs at Guggenheim

Music for the March 19 Young Collectors Party at the Guggenheim Museum in New York came courtesy of hip-hop legend Afrika Bambaataa. Getty images photographed the annual event that raises funds to support the acquisition of new works by emerging artists, such as the 2001 purchase “Daddy, Daddy, Daddy” by Mark Bradford, early in the Los Angeles-based artist’s career. Aimed at professionals aged 21-40, the group was formed in 1996.

Drake is Collaborating with Sotheby’s

Sotheby’s New York is staging an selling exhibition of works by some of the most sought-after black contemporary artists working today, including Nick Cave, Rashid Johnson, Glenn Ligon, Wangechi Mutu, David Hammons, Kara Walker and Kehinde Wiley, along with Jean-Michel Basquiat. The show will feature music “curated” by Drake, the Grammy award winner. Visitors will hear a range of selections—from jazz to hip hop—at listening stations equipped with Beats by Dre headphones.

In a release, Sotheby’s announced it is “thrilled to present an exhibition exploring the dialogue between music and art, through the work of black American contemporary artists.” Rather than being presented in a traditional live-auction setting, the works will be on display in a selling exhibition scheduled from April 28 to June 12, 2015. CT

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