POST BY PADDY JOHNSON
Is Lady Gaga an artist? According to PS1 Chief Curator Klaus Biesenbach, the answer to this question was “no” two months ago but when David Byrne published the sentiment on his blog, and word got around he changed his tune. Now the answer is not only “yes”, but, “Let’s go to MoMA together, you will bring artist Terence Koh.” Guess who was spotted at MoMA yesterday with Biesenbach?
So be it, but something seems a little icky about this. For one thing, Lady Gaga isn’t an artist, she’s a performer (though yes, technically anyone’s an artist who says they are. Hello can of worms and distinction made anyway). She’s not doing anything particularly innovative musically, and while the same can not be said of her work as a pop star, I worry any collaboration between her and the museum will fall within the throw away blockbuster genre of programming. Showing up to the MoMA dressed as a tampon just isn’t going to have the same reasonance as doing so at the MTV music awards.
But Biesenbach claims he was just misquoted, writing to Byrne over email, “Of course Lady Gaga is an artist”. Personally, I don’t buy this; Byrne wrote that Biesenbach justified his initial thoughts on the subject with Susan Sontag, so the conversation seems far too involved to misconstrue. Here’s hoping the only issue is communication, not the desire to capitalize on the performer’s ability to bring new visitors and benefactors into the museum. While I’m at it, I’ll add to my “hope list” that such a collaboration will transcend previous notions of menstruation art..