Strange Protest by Old Skool Performance Artist Against Lady Gaga

by Hrag Vartanian on January 4, 2012

Some peculiar things end up in our inbox on a daily basis but this one stood out. Performance artist Colette, who most of us who weren’t around in the 1970s and 80s haven’t heard of, has staged a strange protest against Lady Gaga at the Lady Gaga windows at Barney’s. Colette seems to think Gaga was influenced by her.

I don’t know Colette’s work enough to make any judgments on her claim but the direct relationship isn’t evident at first.

While browsing Colette’s website a few things (not necessarily related to Gaga) stood out:

  • The URL is odd but playful:
  • “In 1978, the artist staged her own death in an installation performance at the Downtown Whitney, entitled ‘The Last Stitch’ and resurrected as Justine, who posed as an entrepreneur and marketed Colette’s vision and image.”
  • She has six separate personas.
  • Jeffrey Deitch wrote something in her 1981 monograph. These are some of what he has written (though I haven’t been able to independently verify any of it):
    • “Colette’s has entered her fantasies to create a phenomenon that’s art fashion theater and attitude.”
    • “As Colette has become increasingly renowned in art circles, she has watched her ideas filter into the products of designers, decorators, and others in the commercial world…the beautiful dreamer has become a ‘Reverse-Pop’ artist, exploring the channeling of art ideas through commercial media instead of framing commercial images for art world consumption.”
  • She has done a series of street performances in the 1970s and 80s.
  • She has a YouTube channel:
  • And she even has a gift shop.

Anyway, watch the video and see for yourself. I’m guessing she’s itching for a come back. And considering her CV and the contemporary interest in performance, I’d be surprised if she doesn’t get one.

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  • Paul Behnke

    “who most of us who weren’t around in the 1970s and 80s haven’t heard of”This probably includes Lady GaGa

  • GlennBelverio

    One doesn’t have to have been around back then to mine ideas, like the people around Gaga whose job it is to lift references for her (like, “Hey Gaga, the team has come up with a fab idea for you: mermaid in a wheelchair!”) Also, I’m pretty sure Simon Doonan art-directed the windows (he was tweeting the hell out of them in Nov and Dec) and he was definitely around in the ’70s and ’80s!

  • Kate Kretz

    If you do even the tiniest bit of research, it is easy to observe that Lady Gaga has been methodically stealing from one fine artist after another, only to be exalted in the media for being “infinitely creative”. Nobody ever bothers to see if someone else has created, say, a meat dress before. In addition, these earlier works by others were laden with content, only to be donned by Gaga as a cheap publicity stunt.

  • .

    If the “direct relationship isn’t evident at first” then maybe you shouldn’t be reviewing visual arts.

    Its impossible for people like Lady Gaga to turn out something highly original almost daily. Its impossible to be that inventive, at that velocity, and so their staff has to appropriate it from others to stay on top of fans’ demand.

    I don’t know if this was Barney’s or Gaga’s fault but the right thing to do at this point would be for Gaga to ask Collette to collaborate next time around.

  • .

    What a sleazeball, erasing my comment because I was critical of the author’s statement: “the direct relationship isn’t evident at first”.

    I’ll state it again and take a screen capture, if the relationship isn’t evident then perhaps you shouldn’t be reviewing visual art.

    • Hrag Vartanian

      Your comment is deleted because you are writing it anonymously and obviously can’t stand behind your opinion. Sucks to be you.

  • .

    I’m not writing it anonymously. Christopher Gordon Nahas, 138 East 16th Street, NYC 10003. Sucks being a narcissistic child who creates his own special art world pretending its a public forum and then erases posted comments that don’t stroke his ego. Enjoy playing alone with your dolls.

  • .

    Oh wow, you’re one of those hip, radical people from Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Bet folks in Ohio are impressed.

  • .


  • .

    “Some peculiar things end up in our inbox on a daily basis”

    Wow, posturing like you and your boyfriend are an institution!!!!

    VERY Brooklyn of you!

  • .

    The only art critic I know with his own logo!

    VERY hip- just like a real brand!!!!

  • .

    And just because other posters have posted under name they’ve entered, its FOR SURE that’s who they REALLY are and so we KNOW they’re not anonymous!!!

    You check IDs, right???

    FOR SURE!!!!

  • .

    old sKool with a K!!!! now that’s REALLY clever!!!!!!!!!!

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