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.
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