ARTICLE NATASHA STAGG
images courtesy of billy farrell agency
AT LAST NIGHT'S ARTPOP LAUNCH, LADY GAGA OUTDID HERSELF AGAIN, AS DID A FEW OF HER VERY SPECIAL GUESTS
Lady Gaga literally flew into the press preview for her artRave last night, wearing a hovercraft called Volantis—and that was the only way she got high all night, she assures us. The rest of the crowd, we can't say as much for. Gaga, always keeping us on our toes, decided to turn a new leaf that didn't involve what raves are usually known for. During her stay at the Marina Abramović Institute, the singer had to give up a lot of things—speaking and wearing clothing were eliminated during some exercises, and drugs and alcohol were strictly prohibited. Video footage from their work together appeared on large screens during the artRave, a party thrown by Gaga, Abramović, the photographers responsible for much of ARTPOP’s imagery and the “Applause” music video (and V’s extended September issue editorials), Inez & Vinoodh, and the “man of the hour,” as Gaga herself declared, Jeff Koons. "It's from art to pop and back again," said Gaga in between songs, describing not only her new album but her new mindset, which is clearly focused, as of late, on purity of form.
While all the way in Amsterdam, our girl Miley lit up a joint on stage at the MTV EMAs, here in the best city on earth, a native New Yorker celebrated the drop of not only a new album but a “concept,” or, as the little monsters have been tweeting, a “way of life,” by leaving the drugs behind. During a particularly emotional set, Gaga, seated before a white piano in her third costume of the night—a sparkly white version of the “Dope” single cover suit—said that quitting drugs and alcohol has been one of the most difficult things she’s ever done. “I still have a really hard time with it,” she admitted to her fans, collaborators, supporters, and three open bars. “I want tonight to be a change. I do not have to be high to be creative. I do not have to be drunk to have a good idea. I can sit with my thoughts and not feel crazy. I can do it without the dope.” It was one of many raw moments witnessed throughout the party that started on a ferry from Manhattan and ended in Red Hook, Brooklyn, where the Jeff Koons statue featured on ARTPOP’s cover welcomed guests at the door—by the way, it’s much larger than life size, and anatomically correct, even behind the ball.
A human mirror ball posed and passed out ARTPOP-related prizes over one bar while a Gaga lookalike stripped completely over another (and yes, she stayed nude for the rest of the night). Camera crews caught the whole event and streamed it live on Vevo as hashtagged images and messages from fans appeared on the giant video screens. DJ White Shadow went on before the Mother Monster appeared in archival Gareth Pugh, making her way to the stage through the audience while dancers emerged from behind a tiered platform. VIP was high above the show and had a perfect view of the aforementioned Koons and three more of his new works revealed that night, but the best seat in the house to see Gaga in the flesh was where Koons himself stood—on the floor with all the most outrageous fans. As Gaga dedicated "Gypsy" to him, adding that the "harassing" and "torturing" of the artist must come to an end, the pop art icon beamed and posed for selfies with Little Monsters. Side note: the Monsters, as devoted and loving as they all are, still couldn’t let the party end without a fight. Before Gaga entered the room a bouncer had to break up a real brawl in the middle of the impatient crowd.
Gaga’s message, once she appeared, was, as always, one of all-inclusiveness. It seemed to calm the crowd, but that was most likely due, too, to a certain someone's charisma: It’s very hard to look away from the woman once she takes the stage. The final costume change was to Gaga's now signature and markedly simplistic black spandex, bringing home her declaration on the role of the worker-artist. After all the glittering and shining white outfits, this one suggested negative space. Describing a process that is highly collaborative, singing the lyrics "do what you want with my body," Gaga makes sure the world knows that she plan on giving everything to the creatives that surround her. It's a process that pays: By making herself a canvas for the art and fashion world to draw on, she's certainly become the a favorite subject for many a respected talent—and it doesn't look like the work is slowing down any time soon.
images courtesy of billy farrell agency