Lady Gaga took over Times Square on Monday morning (August 19) to premiere her much-anticipated “Applause” video on “Good Morning America,” and, in the process, presumably freak out a large portion of folks watching at home.
Oh, and as if all that wasn’t enough, she also announced she’ll be opening the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards with her first live performance of the song.
But back to the “Applause” video, which most certainly wasn’t your standard breakfast-hour fare: Gaga cavorts in various states of undress, sprawls out on a mattress (an ode, she explained, to the months she spent recovering from her hip surgery), prances, preens, sprouts wings, sports about a dozen different outfits and, at various points throughout, transforms herself into various mythical creatures. It is obtuse, odd, and most certainly does not go well with oatmeal.
But that’s precisely the point. Gaga has always been about provocation — she wants you to think, act, dance, etc — and here, she’s stripping herself bare, pulling the curtain back on her creative process, showing the viewer how she’s willing to do anything to please the public … even if that means shapeshifting into a swan. She is the object of our curiosities and our fantasies, something we want to put on a shelf and admire, yet rarely do we think about everything that goes into, well, everything she does.
To that end, “Applause” is her call to consider the creator; repeat viewings also reveal several nods to the art world, both classic (Botticelli) and contemporary (Koons), and she seems to be suggesting that, hey, it takes work to make these works. Inspiration only comes after the artist is willing to sacrifice their selves and their sanity.
And that’s pretty hefty metaphorical lifting for a Monday morning, but, again, that’s the point. Gaga’s gonna make you work for it. Art isn’t easy, ARTPOP is something else entirely.