For Lady Gaga’s fourth album, Artpop, the pop icon teamed up with art provocateur Jeff Koons to collaborate on striking visuals and sculptures to encapsulate the album’s transcendence, metamorphic vibes.
Utilizing Koons’s signature “Blue Gazing Ball” sculpture, Gaga sits spread eagle with her secret garden obstructed by a reflective blue orb. “One second I’m a Koons, then suddenly the Koons is me,” she sings in 2013’s “Applause.”
Koons rose to prominence in the mid-80s as an art world troll who explored the meaning of creation amidst a saturated market of hoitey toitey commercialism. The pair met in 2010 at a fashion ball at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, as Koons recounts, “Gaga did a fantastic performance. Afterwards I was introduced to her and it was amazing. She grabbed ahold of me and gave me a big hug around my wasit and said, ‘You know Jeff, I’ve been such a fan of yours, and when I was a kid just hanging out in Central Park I would talk to my friends about your work.’ I was thrilled. It was very meaningful.”
Explaining the significance of the orb, Koons noted, “What was beautiful was the accessibility of the ball – that reflective ball that many people have in their yards as a symbol of generosity to your neighbors. But when you’d look at it you’d feel this transcendence where the ball would become everything and it would be about a mass dialogue about what possibilities are for humans.”
“With the cover, I wanted to have Gaga there as a sculpture, a three-dimensional type of form with the gazing ball. [Seeing] this aspect of reflection, when you come across it, it affirms your existence. And then from that affirmation, you start to want more. There’s a transcendence that takes place and eventually it leads you to everything.”
This isn’t the first time pop and art have coincided harmoniously, take Andy Warhol’s work with the Velvet Underground, Grace Jones with Jean-Paul Goude, and Björk with Nick Knight. Hopefully in the future we can see more art takeovers with music as a driving force. Gaga herself is a work of art, god bless.
– Logan Benedict, someone who lives for the applause