Pushing Boundaries With Swizz Beatz And Jeffrey Deitch

Art is a connector; it’s as simple as that. People from different nations, religions, and races have been brought together through the power of art. As we approach 2016, it should come as no surprise that a hip-hop hero and art world veteran would join forces for their mutual love of art.

You might of heard the names Swizz Beats and Jeffrey Deitch before; but perhaps never in the same sentence. Swizz Beatz aka Kasseem Dean has always been an artist, creating sounds that have solidified the voice of a generation. The producer and recording artist has seen major success within music, and a transition into the art world seemed only natural. Dean began delving into the scene with his love of painting. From passion to lifestyle the artist has now involved himself in many aspects of the trade.

Amongst several impressive artistic accomplishments, Dean was recently named to the board of the Brooklyn Museum. His role at the esteemed institution will see an expansion in arts education programs, financial support, and cultural engagement. At the same time, Dean has just finished putting on a major art fair titled “No Commission” at this year’s Miami Art Basel. Dean is clearly is a man of many projects, and has an ongoing endeavor you might want to get acquainted with. Introducing The Dean Collection, his privately owned array of works by internationally recognized artists such as KAWS, Swoon, and Kehinde Wiley.

“I wanted to start this art collection for my kids, because I just feel like when traveling and going to different people’s homes and being around different cultures, you see a lot of things that are passed down to the kids,” Dean explains to Emil Wilbekin for Haute Living. “So I started building the collection ― and my kids still don’t really know The Dean Collection is for them. I don’t talk about it. It’s something that I do as a passion, and it’s something they’ll turn around one day and say, ‘Wow, Dad built a museum for us to take over.’”

However like all good artists and collectors, you have to draw inspiration from somewhere. Enter Jeffrey Deitch; one of the most notable names in the art world today. His name is synonymous with his status as director of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA), as a world-class art dealer and curator, and as founder of the globally distinguished Deitch Projects. Like Dean, Deitch is known for pushing boundaries in the industry. He is notorious for his ability to recognize talent in the strangest of places, and develop that talent into household names.

The two met seven years ago through Craig Robins, the president and CEO of the DACRA real estate empire that combines art and architecture in Miami. While Deitch and Dean’s brands may be different, their respect for street artists and raw talent mirrored one another.

“Oh man. I was starstruck when I met Jeffery and I’m not starstruck very easy,” says Dean. “He was the person that if you had the craziest idea, you know to go to Jeffrey. He’s going to do the unsafe zone. And when you look at Jeffery you wouldn’t think he would do the unsafe zone.”

Now seven years later, Haute Living is proud to bring these two powerhouses back together. They collaborated once again at Deitch Projects in Soho, New York City for Haute Living’s esteemed Art Basel cover. We are proud to present a behind the scenes look at the haute collaboration.

Swizz Beatz and Jeffrey Deitch standing in front of Keith Haring, Untitled, 1982. Photography by Mark Squires
Swizz Beatz and Jeffrey Deitch standing in front of Keith Haring, Untitled, 1982. Photography by Mark Squires