Gaga’s back, and this time it’s cultural. The star born Stefani Germanotta is due to release her third album ‘Artpop’ in November, along with an app that she claims will ‘combine music, art, fashion and technology’. Little Monsters in London will be the first to hear new tracks when she opens the iTunes festival at the Roundhouse on Sunday September 1. This will be no ordinary album launch, however – Gaga 3.0 comes with a higher pop purpose: ‘We bring ARTculture into POP in a reverse Warholian expedition,’ is her mission statement, posted on Facebook in July.
So just what is a ‘reverse Warholian expedition’? ‘[Warhol] was able to make commercial art that was taken seriously as fine art,’ Gaga has said of her idol. ‘That’s what I’m doing too.’ So, whereas Warhol put the pop into art in ’60s New York, Gaga’s putting the art into pop in the internet age, geddit? For starters she’s been collaborating with established stars of the art world, such as Marina Abramovic and Jeff Koons. She’s also been brushing up on her cultural history – the video for latest single ‘Applause’ is packed with references to geniuses from Botticelli to Bowie.
Not everyone in the art community is impressed by her efforts, however. ‘Pop art was a movement at a particular time – it was something new,’ comments Fitzrovia gallery owner Alison Jacques. ‘To refer to Warhol now, and introduce it into music and say it’s something radical – it isn’t really the case.’ The Europop beats of her new songs are hardly groundbreaking, either, but credit goes to Gaga for playing the fame game as well as anyone. Chances are Warhol would be as fascinated as the rest of us. Jonny Ensall
Think you can tell the Monster talk from the Marilyn chat? Take our Gaga v Warhol quote quiz. Lady Gaga plays the Roundhouse on Sun Sep 1. Check out our guide to the iTunes Festival for this year’s full line-up.