artist Collette calls out Lady Gaga for being a rip off

In a previous post on the Lady Gaga phenomenon, I claimed "My only complaint about Gaga so far is that she seems to model herself after others so much." I wondered when, or if, Lady Gaga would find her own voice rather than borrow so heavily from other artists - pop and performance.  Apparently Gaga's really done it now. Her current window installation at Barney's in New York has insulted multimedia artist, Colette, because Gaga's window heavily replicates one of Colette's installations from the 1970s.

Gaga's recent television bits at the Times Square New Years event reinforced my  unease with her lack of authenticity.  I recognize that everything she does is a performance.  She's playing a persona at all times. Like Bowie, like Marilyn Monroe, like Madonna and so on and so on.  I get it.  I haven't done a blow by blow analysis of her costumes compared with artists through out art history, but I can discern the notes of Dadaism and camp 'influence'. Of course, a huge red flag shot up over her appropriation of Jana Sterbak's Meat Dress from 1987 for me.  Even so, I tried giving her the benefit of the doubt.  She's young and will mature, right? 
Looking for Lady Gaga by Josh Gilbert.

I've been hoping that Gaga's imitation of avant-garde artists throughout history would eventually shape her into one.  It's a standard art student task, like copying Degas paintings until you can paint as well on your own. Artistic influence is one thing, but eventually an artist must stand on their own. I appreciate how Gaga has pushed the ideas of performance art further into the main stream as mostly Pop seems to do in our culture, but it's time Gaga found a clearer way to recognize the artists she borrows from plus do something of her own.   In Camille Paglia's critique, "Lady Gaga the Death of Sex," she gives Gaga a righteous spanking that reduces her back to her schoolgirl self, Stefani Germanotta (Gaga's real name).   

It's time for Stefani to try something new. Step back from the artificial identity persona far enough to own something of your own.  She is overdue.  


trena said...

Thanks for writing this. I've been trying to figure her out, too, not nearly as thoroughly as you have, of course, but this helps put her in perspective for me.

Anika said...

AMEN! Perfectly put. And I had that same feeling during the New Years Eve thing...it made me uncomfortable for her. And I agree it's great that she has opened some avant eyes in the Pop mainstream but you are right...what's next...and what's new?

Very well written piece, enjoyed the read...I said "totally!" to myself at least a handful of times ;)

Anika said...

ps-have not read Paglia's piece and will look for it, thanks!

Tonette Time said...

Thanks Trena and Anika!

And definitely take a few minutes to read Paglia. She's pretty sensational herself at times in some of her writings, but sharpER than a tack and quite level in her scrutiny of Gaga.

scott davidson said...

I had a chance to combine my two loves in life recently and had a two weeks' holiday in wonderful France, to which I had been before, and had loved so much. I took a little Renault rental car and headed off from Paris, to the Palace of Versailles, to Chartres then southward to sunny Provence, via the Auvergne region, with the Songs of the Auvergne playing repeated on the CD player.
Magnifique, comme toujours. I saw many art galleries and followed the footsteps of artists, like poor Vincent Van Gogh.
Back home all too soon, I ordered a canvas print from wahooart.com, choosing this painting by C├ęzanne, http://EN.WahooArt.com/A55A04/w.nsf/OPRA/BRUE-8EWNWL, to remember my trip by.