"[Gaga Stigmata has] very modern, edgy photography to free flowing, urban narratives without censure to analytical essays, et cetera—like Gaga, imagination without ... limits. And the beauty is that anyone can submit work to the site, so artists and writers from all over the [world] have joined this experiment." -The Declaration.org

"Since March 2010, [Gaga Stigmata] has churned out the most intense ongoing critical conversation on [Lady Gaga]."
-Yale's The American Scholar

Sunday, May 29, 2011

GAGAGRAPHY: Gaga, "Judas," & Francis Bacon

Definition: Gagagraphy is the branch of Gaga studies that seeks to identify, describe, and interpret the content of images depicting Lady Gaga. A Gagagraphy studies all the various components of an image of Gaga, mining for meaning the image’s positioning of its figure, her gesture, her costume, her props (animate and inanimate), her facial expression, her makeup, etc. A Gagagraphy also studies potential visual precursors to images of Gaga, seeking to understand from where Gaga’s iconography draws its inspiration, its influences, its visual quotations. Gagagraphy often necessitates comparative analysis, drawing meaning from the exercise of comparing and contrasting Gaga’s images with her visual influences.

Directions: Meditate upon the following image of Gaga, taking into account its various components. Then compare and contrast Gaga’s image with Bacon’s artwork. Leave your analysis in the comments.

Fashion Credits: 
Purple catsuit and gloves by Mugler 
Cape by Perry Meek/Haus of Gaga
Fashion director, Nicola Formichetti

Francis Bacon, Figure With Meat (1954)

About this artwork, the Art Institute of Chicago notes:
Permeated by tormented visions of humanity, Francis Bacon’s paintings embody the ethos of the postwar era. Beginning in the late 1940s, Bacon created a series of works modeled on Diego Velázquez’s Portrait of Pope Innocent X (1649/50), in which he transformed the celebrated masterpiece into grotesque, almost nightmarish compositions. In this version, he replaced the noble drapery framing the central figure with two sides of beef, directly quoting Rembrandt van Rijn and Chaim Soutine’s haunting images of raw meat. By linking the pope with these carcasses, Bacon allowed the viewer to interpret the pope alternately as a depraved butcher, or as a victim like the slaughtered animal hanging behind him.

Diego Valázquez’s Pope Innocent X (1649/50) was a direct influence on Bacon’s painting, as was Rembrandt’s Carcass of Beef (1657):

“I kinda like this one, Bob. Leave it.” – The Joker


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  2. Lady Gaga uses her cape to make her grand entrance and shock the bourgeoisie once more with her outlandish purple satin outfit. She surprises everyone, revealing her outfit and the unusual cross-straps of the design which celebrate the body, in full satin and fleshly sensuality. We are lovely. We are animals. We are spiritual cannibals. "Take eat, this is my body, this is my blood.” This is our very beauty -- our daily challenge to sustain our humanity while celebrating our physicality, pleasure-fully and openly. It is right and meet to celebrate our meat. In contrast, Pope Innocent X, in total denial of his "meat" was the most evil Pope ever -- killing many innocent people in Parma, and sustaining the strife in Ireland and England, by supplying large quantities of military supplies to Ireland since the Pope only looked at the world in terms of what would benefit his own selfish political ends. On the outside, in Velasquez painting he "glows" with the "S"pirit but the "S" of Spirit is really the "S" of true SIN because he denies half of himself, the Body, the Meat, which Bacon sees clearly as his ugliness because he does not live it openly, but which Gaga celebrates with panache because it is a part of her sacred, loving, generous, gorgeous self and ours too. Gaga’s largesse of presence, confidence and openness contrast with the Pope’s small, tight, and closed nature, illustrated in the depiction of his hands.(My apologies for so many attempts at posting; this is my first one on this site and I was quite nervous. Thanks for understanding)

  3. Zach - University of IowaJune 6, 2011 at 9:18 PM

    This isn't comparing the two pictures, but I would like to say that Gaga's pose could be (whether intended or not) a symbol of Baconism. Bacon started the movement to crush the traditional view of a living mother nature and instead wanted to "unrobe" her and inspect her inner mechanics. Bacon viewed nature as mechanical and wanted to do away with what he called the superstitious ideas of the past. I personally don't agree with Bacon and rather favor James Lovelock; but any who I hope this is insight you can use. It was the first thing that came to my mine when I saw Gaga's photo then read the name Francis Bacon.


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