Lady Gaga and The Color of Spectacle

Lady Gaga and The Color of Spectacle

Mark Chamberlain
Feb 15, 2011

The Grammys are over and as usual, a prouder display of peacockery is seldom found on live television. It must be noted, this years presentation contained an extremely disparate range of talent— I'm having trouble in particular trying to picture Streisand rubbing elbows backstage with Eminem. And in the midst of all this, a superstar was born from a spaceship/egg. File this under Cultural Critique.

This all started with a blurb I read over the weekend. Yvonne Rainer stated this in a manifesto from 1965: "No to spectacle no to virtuosity no to transformations and magic and make believe no to glamour and transcendency of the star image." I couldn't disagree more, and if you google video footage of Rainer showing Richard Move a few Martha Graham steps, you'll see how he's riveting and she isn't. If you think there's a reason to climb up on a soapbox and draw a crowd, you better have something to say and an interesting way of saying it or you're going to be lonely. Enter Lady Gaga.

I think she's the greatest pop starlet to come down the pike in 20 years. Forget that her producers have somewhat reduced her to a womanoid. She writes her own music, plays her own piano and has a soprano belt right out of a gospel church. When you see her play live, it's like a cross between a young Aretha Franklin and David Bowie. On Sunday, she was carried into the theater in an egg-shaped litter, hatched on stage wearing a yolk-colored dress, and then rocked the house with what is most certainly the nightclub anthem for the next year. She has more energy in the back of her ear then most of us will ever know, and is pretty much the antithesis of Yvonne Rainer's manifesto. We're hungry for a little magic.

What does this have to do with color for interiors? I'm not sure, other than it's also Fashion Week here in New York, and I'm always looking for outside sources of inspiration when I get bored painting apartments. For one thing, I was half expecting Gaga to wear another "meat dress," and I thought Sunday she actually looked kind of classy, almost like a young Catherine Deneuve from some angles. This also made me think of Michelle Obama's inauguration gown — citrus yellow — and how that was taken to mean fresh beginnings. So, too, with Sundays performance. As dancers stripped yellow togas and threw them to the sun, it felt like rays of light in dark times.

In fashion, we're seeing a surge of bright chemical colors lately—electric blues, acid yellows and greens. If we were to take any cues from this whatsoever, why not paint a fresh yellow breakfast room to brighten the morning?

Possible color recommendations: Farrow&Ball Dayroom Yellow 223, Citron 74;
Ralph Lauren Beach Yellow, IB71

- Mark Chamberlain, interior and decorative painter

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