In re-contextualizing the iconography of so-called high culture with pop culture, art history with hip hop, he creates work so layered with disparate references that they take on different meanings with each audience. His application of Jay-Z lyrics to an artwork in dialogue with
, for example, was likely lost on many art critics. In a series of sculptural forms taking cues from Duchamp readymades for “The Only Way Is Up
” at Hasted Kraeutler in 2014, Erizku debuted Oh, what a feeling. Aw, fuck it, I want a trillion
, a column of seven basketball hoops with gold-plated chain nets that takes its title from a line out of Jay-Z’s “Picasso Baby.” “When I made this piece, I was thinking about Donald Judd with the “Stack” series and also
, obviously,” Erizku explains, thumbing through the slideshow on his computer. “For me, this became this metaphor. Why seven hoops and not 10? Well, seven is a lucky number, and I always look at the game of art much like the game of basketball, where it’s half luck, half talent.” The resulting piece is one loaded with overtly academic references and material metaphors for black culture, and finished with a sheen of the self-reflection of a young man fresh out of art school.