Lady Gaga Promoting “ARTPOP” With ArtRave, Becoming Art Star

lady gaga

ARTPOP, the much heralded new album from Lady Gaga, is coming out tomorrow—though almost every note has been leaked in one way or another. Gaga will celebrate the album’s release with a special artRave event livestreaming on Vevo tonight at 11:30pm.

NewNowNext will be there to catch Gaga’s performance and sculptor Jeff Koons’ new installation. Check back Monday morning for photos, video and more!

Gaga has touted ARTPOP as bringing the art establishment to pop music, much as Warhol and Lichtenstein brought pop culture to art. She’s been hanging with Koons, Robert Wilson and Marina Abramavic, and the music video for “Applause abounds with art-history references from Hieronymus Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights (human-bird hybrids) to Botticelli’s Birth of Venus (Gaga sports a clamshell bikini).

The only art star Lady Gaga’s she’s not lifting from is Keith Haring, mainly because Madonna got there first.

So what the hell does all this mean, besides the fact that Gaga found a copy of Janson’s History of Art? We’re not sure—but she’s been co-opting artists and artistic movements for years. (What, you think no one ever did a meat dress before?)

We’re taking a look back at Lady Gaga’s dalliances with the art world. Hey, that art-history degree had to come in handy some time.

The Lady Gaga Guide to Art


Even Gaga’s name is a subtle nod to this early 20th-century “anti-art” movement, one that sought to shatter preconceived notions about art and culture. (Sound familiar?) Marcel Duchamp outraged the art-world establishment by submitting a urinal for the Society of Independent Artists’ exhibition of 1917. Using chaos and anarchy like a sledgehammer sounds right up Gaga’s alley. In fact, she even made a Duchamp-inspired piece in 2010, titled Armitage Shanks (which just happens to be the name of the manufacturer of most British toilets.)

gaga dali

Decades before Gaga turned her hair into a phone receiver, surrealist master Salvador Dali was turning a lobster into a telephone. (For the uninitiated, surrealism is the use of familiar objects in unfamiliar surroundings—like a lobster telephone).

And long before Gaga played a piano with stork-like legs (below), Dali imagined a caravan of animals on spindly appendages for his Temptation of St. Anthony. Even Dali’s wife had a fashion sense Gaga has seemed to embrace. And her name? Gala.

dlai gaga
More recently, Gaga Instagrammed a selfie with herself sporting a decidedly Dali-esque mustache.

lady gaga salvador dali

warhol gagaGaga has been open about her fascination with Warhol, his commentary on celebrity and ability to combine the sublime and the ridiculous. “Warhol said art should be meaningful in the most shallow way,” Gaga once explained. “He was able to make commercial art that was taken seriously as fine art … that’s what I’m doing, too.”

But perhaps her most Warholian trademark is the Haus of Gaga, modeled after Warhol’s Factory, with creative types manufacturing fashion, technology, music and more under her aegis.

What we need are more Gaga Superstars in the mode of Edie Sedgwick, Holly Woodlawn and Little Joe. Of course, that would require Gaga to share the spotlight, so who knows.

gaga abramovicMARINA ABRAMOVIC

Abramovic,66, has been an art-world darling for decades. In 2010’s “The Artist is Present,” she sat passively in a chair, staring out at strangers for hours on end. Since then, everyone from James Franco to Jay Z has latched onto the self-anointed “grandmother of performance art.” Gaga, who credits Abramovic with “healing” her during her recovery from surgery, attended Robert Wilson’s summer benefit with Abramovic and and appeared in a performance-art video benefiting the Marina Abramovic Institute.

gaga koonsJEFF KOONS

Gaga namechecks Koons, the most successful contemporary artist alive, in “Applause”—singing in an oddly Teutonic accent, “One second I’m a Koons fan, then suddenly the Koons is me.” Is she making a comment about commercial art and commercial music?

On the other hand, “Kunst” is the German world for “art,” so maybe she’s declaring herself a work of art?

Could be—Koons even provided a sculpture of Gaga to grace the cover of ARTPOP.

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.