Lady Gaga and performance artist Marina Abramovic share one undeniable strength: the creative powers of their own bodies. Abramovic’s physical presence is almost always at the core of her work. She has passively stood before an audience allowing them to aim at her anything from roses to guns; she has masturbated beneath museums. In The Artist Is Present, she simply sat and stared at audience members across a table.
Similarly, Lady Gaga, who collaborated with Abramovic in her album ArtPop, needs only to exist in order to move an audience. She can wear a meat dress and dance ecstatically or play the piano in a tank top and be equally fascinating.
When her hip injury last year ended her Born This Way Ball tour, she was unable to fully exist in the public eye; the star’s career took a hit. To cope with the pain of her injury, Gaga became reliant on marijuana, sometimes smoking fifteen times per day. She explains, “I was just numbing, numbing, numbing myself [...] then getting on stage, killing it in pain, then getting off and smoking, smoking, smoking.”
The habit began concerning the pop star, and Abramovic eventually told her, “Okay you're coming to my house, No television, no computer, no marijuana [...] For three days, art only.” It probably felt much like being at one of Abramovic’s shows, forced to face one’s demons in the form of the silent artist across the room. And Gaga recovered; she now only smokes for fun, never in excess or for the purpose of self-medicating. With the help of her fellow artist, Gaga was finally able to quit and is now back full-force. Way to go, ladies!
Watch a video of Abramovic’s The Artist Is Present below. About half-way through her former lover Ulay surprises her; her reaction is one of the most beautiful works you will ever see.