Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Mad as a box of frogs

Websites and gossip magazines just love to pit celebrities against one another. And since genuine catfights are few and far between, they have to engineer opportunities to force their readers to take sides. The easiest and seemingly most popular route is to find celebrities who've worn the same outfit and encourage their readers to vote for who looks best. Sadly, going on her recent form at least, it'll be some time before we see Lady GaGa on those pages.

In the past couple of weeks we've seen her wearing gigantic hats, gimp masks, spirograph headgear and a studded leather corset that shoots fireworks from its breasts. Needless to say, GaGa's not a girl who shuns the limelight. Many people seem to find her annoying and pretentious, but I think they're missing the point.

Just like Sacha Baron Cohen, Stefani Germanotta (her real name in case you were wondering) is a performance artist who has brought her character into the real world to enhance the audience's engagement with the product she's created. In doing so, she's found a clever way of maintaining interest and intrigue. And the knock-on effect of all this is that she's made US chart history by being the first American act to score three number ones from a debut album.

Ordinarily, new artists explode onto the scene with a smash hit song, release an album and then accept the law of diminishing returns with each successive release until they have a second album to launch. GaGa understands the power of a campaign (as this great article recognises) and has managed to keep her profile high even now, almost a year after the album debuted.

Asked about her 'art' in Maxim magazine, GaGa named David Bowie and Andy Warhol as her inspiration. "Warhol said art should be meaningful in the most shallow way. He was able to make commercial art that was taken seriously as fine art, to use something simple and shallow and take it to another planet. That's what I'm doing too." But just as importantly, she doesn't seem to take any of this pretentious post-rationalisation too seriously. Then again, it's hard to take anything seriously when you're dressed like a Muppet mass grave.

No comments:

Post a Comment