Tameka Norris’ installation, consisting of a wallpaper of enlarged American currency cascading onto the floor, acts as a backdrop for interested viewers to pose in front of. The scene is framed on both sides by monitors playing the artist’s music video where Norris, rapping to her own lyrics, enacts recognizable vignettes from hip hop videos while bumping and grinding, like a dancer in a Lil’ Wayne video, on multi-million dollar artworks in UCLA’s sculpture garden. The lyrics put an art-world twist on rap braggaddocio: “I’m that black Cindy Sherman and that little Kara Walker. Basquiat resurrected from the dead motherfucka.” Given the influence of art schools like UCLA’s in churning out art stars, like the music industry produces one hit wonders, Norris’ critique, while somewhat one-dimensional, is actually cutting and appropriate. The installation, including the video, was first used as part of UCLA’s 2008 Undergraduate Scholarship Exhibition, where rich benefactors took pictures with their scholarship recipients in front of the gaudy backdrop. Knowing this makes me wonder if the installation would be even more effective now if Norris included these photos as a sort of documentation of the intersection of art, fame, money and academia.
Originally published in ARTLIES Magazine Issue 65 Spring 2010
By Tucker Neel
All of the art works on display were either tongue-in-cheek homages or riffs on Lil’ Wayne as a popular phenomenon. A hip-hop video parody by Tameka Norris set the timbre of the evening squarely in the low-brow/brilliant quadrant with a piece showing herself gyrating in a bikini and a fur vest all over the city. Though the lady’s moves were good enough to have put her into dancer call-backs for Lollipop Pt. II, her verbal swagger (declaring herself a combination "Cindy Sherman and Kara Walker") imbued a confidence worthy of Wayne himself.
Originally Published in Bushwickbk.com August 25, 2009
By Mimi Luse, excerpt taken from Contemporary Art + Lil’ Wayne = Magic