Jay-Z Learns Who Ellen Grossman Is On the Subway

That’s the thing about New York, isn’t it? You never know who you’ll meet on the subway. When Jay-Z took the subway to his concert at Brooklyn’s new Barclays Center, he ended up having a chance encounter with an accomplished artist, fellow Brooklyn native Ellen Grossman. The encounter is very sweet, with none of the “Don’t you know who I am?” airs one might expect when a massive headliner greets a, well, less mainstream headliner. At first, Grossman doesn’t recognize Hov, but when he introduces himself as Jay-Z, at the end of their chat, she has a moment of recognition.

Much of the reaction to this exchange has been about this very nice lady who doesn’t know who Jay-Z is (even when in the end, she does), but what about who Ellen Grossman is? Turns out she’s a very accomplished artist specializing in drawing and sculpture, who has exhibited her work all around the city and beyond. She was part of CurateNYC’s web gallery in 2011 and, in that same year, won the New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship Award for Drawings. Her multi-textural, multi-dimensional works are created with election microscope images, topographic maps and more as foundations and are the kind of pieces you want to reach out and touch. And here she was, and here Jay-Z was, and here they were together, and it was a really nice moment, a perfect example of “8 million stories / out there in the naked.” Watch the Barclays Center documentary, as well as a video of Grossman explaining one for her works, below.

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