This week, with the release of her fourth studio album, ARTPOP, Lady Gaga created two pop-up galleries for her little monsters to converge on. The first pop-up was in New York, obviously, but Gaga would be remiss if she didn’t hit up the west coast. Shortly after the LA dates were released, we headed down to Cahuenga Blvd to see what it was all about. Knowing Gaga, we expected to see some crazy installations, but were surprised at how simple the space was. The wall covered in her singles artwork was the most visually appealing part, but was by no means an indication of artistic ingenuity. An 8×8 shot of her toned behind and a grill consisting of what looked like f*cked up human teeth made for some visceral material, but everything thereafter unfortunately fell short.
Moving on to the upstairs portion, stood past outfits and props from various tours, performances, and music videos. Among the outfits was the now infamous white square headpiece and robe she wore to open the 2013 MTV VMAs, the controversial machine gun bra from the ‘Alejandro’ music video, and her iconic bejeweled purple jacket from the ‘Monster Ball’ Tour. Sadly, the display was not as glamorous as we wished, looking more like a misguided amalgam of merchandise and so-called artistry.
If we had to choose a 2nd place winner for the most interesting part of the night, it would go to the interactive portion. Gaga fans are known to be pretty creative, so watching them in their element was a highlight. Pseudo-monsters took to the mirror to recreate the paint-smeared ‘Applause’ album artwork look, and walked around like they were in everyday attire. Next, fans took to a paper-covered wall where they could show their love and appreciation for the pop star. To the left stood an interactive dance station sponsored by Just Dance 4 and lastly, a photo booth/Beats by Dre listening station – which seemed redundant due to the album playing loudly throughout the space.
Conveniently the Artpop album and t-shirts were sold – reassuring us the pop-up was not just about allowing fans to interact, but about making that dollar as well.
All in all, while the idea of a Lady Gaga-curated pop-up space was appealing, we weren’t quite sure if the idea had realized its potential. And was it worth the traffic on Sunset Blvd? Probably not.