“The time has come to put art before pop,” Lady Gaga declared, in a huge warehouse in Brooklyn on Sunday evening. This was after she had just climbed into a flying dress – the first in the world, it appears – and before she performed in front of a giant Jeff Koons sculpture in her likeness. It was all to announce to the world her intentions with this, her third album, titled ARTPOP.
“We joke that it’s a hobby, but it’s actually not,” she said at a press conference. “I love nurturing the talents of young people.” The idea behind the flying dress, which lifted a few feet off the ground for a few minutes at a time and is still in its very early stages, is to show her young fans the potential that exists and, according to Gaga, to give them the encouragement they may need to follow their dreams.
I wasn’t quite sure what we would see from this flying contraption, which we were told was initially created out of a dress that flew on its own. When Gaga found out about it, she wanted to know if it could fly with her inside it. It was incredibly loud, but cool to see it lift off the ground, even if it wasn’t the overwhelming spectacular we’ve come to associate with the idea of flying.
I asked Gaga what she imagined a flying dress could be used for, after she had said she didn’t want it to be made as something she could use in performance, but she didn’t really have an answer. She kept emphasizing that it’s about letting young people (two of whom designed the contraption) who perhaps “wake up wondering if they’ll ever penetrate the corporate world, the ivory towers” know that there is somewhere to turn.
The flight test was kind of like a PSA for her Tech Haus company, which she says is looking for new ideas from young minds to finance. “The flying dress is like a metaphor for me,” she said. “I am the vehicle that can help make these ideas take flight.”
As for the role art plays in all this, well, Gaga believes it’s time to put it at the front. So, she took over the warehouse space at the Brooklyn Navy Yards and turned it into a gallery of sorts with Koons sculptures displayed around the room, together with the one of her that looks like she’s giving birth to a blue ball – the same one that adorns her new album cover. On the walls, photographers Inez and Vindooh created four diptychs of Lady Gaga and flowers, and on screens, loops of the singer taking up performance artist Marina Abramovic’s methods played over-head. And in one of the rooms, Benjamin Rollins Caldwell’s Binary Chair, was on display. It’s a seat made of circuit boards, LCD screens, and other electronic parts – upon which Gaga perched in the nude to promote her new album. But of course.
After a long wait, which gave ‘artravers’ plenty of time to peruse the art, sip on the free champagne and eat from the yummy foodtrucks, Gaga eventually appeared to perform 9 songs off the new album, including Venus, Manicure, and of course, Applause and Do What You Want, all in the company of all that fine art and hundreds of Little Monsters.
ARTPOP releases today