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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: www.collectcolette.com
  • “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: youtube.com/user/colettetheartist
  • 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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Hrag Vartanian

Hrag Vartanian is editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hyperallergic. You can follow him at @hragv.

4 replies on “Strange Protest by Old Skool Performance Artist Against Lady Gaga”

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

  2. 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!

  3. 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.

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