What About the Art in “Apeshit”?

by: Ellen C. Caldwell
for JSTOR Daily

Over Father’s Day weekend, Beyoncé and Jay-Z released a music video for their new track “Apeshit” from their collaborative album Everything is Love. It includes five densely-packed minutes of art, fashion, and performance filmed on an epic scale at the Louvre.

It could be said that they are using their elite status and wealth to buy out the physical vestibule that holds the paragons of Western (and white) art. Over the course of the video, they re-populate this space with black and brown bodies. It could also be said that they are critiquing the museum as a colonial vault, highlighting the imperial roots of such museums as the Louvre. Much like the World’s Fairs, these exhibition spaces were founded upon Europe’s exploitation of colonies—asserting political dominance through a cultural looting and visual display of ownership. Some have noted that Beyoncé and Jay-Z are commenting on the history of visual oppression in Western art, art that has been made to affirm and assert whiteness as the norm while erasing black culture….

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