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Grammy Awards: Lady Gaga, meet Mariko Mori

February 13, 2011 |  8:06 pm

Lady Gaga Kirk McCoy

Last fall it was Canadian artist Jana Sterbak. Sunday night it was Japanese artist Mariko Mori. Lady Gaga and her savvy stylists don't just like to make an entrance; they also like to borrow from mainstream art.

When the pop diva arrived for the 53rd Grammy Awards at Staples Center on Sunday night held aloft on a litter, she was encased inside a Space Age plastic egg. The silvery, oval sci-fi womb evoked futuristic creative gestation, from which a new consciousness would presumably emerge.

The design recalled a one-person version of Mori's "Wave UFO," a participatory group-sculpture of a silvery, space-age plastic egg that, like Gaga's, proposed the creative possibilities in a slick fusion of technology and spirituality. Mori's sculpture was first shown in 2003 as a Public Art Fund Project in the Madison Avenue atrium of a New York office building and then in the Arsenale at the 2005 Venice Biennale.

At September's Video Music Awards, Gaga raised eyebrows with a dress made from meat. Some of the eyebrows were raised because the ensemble closely resembled Sterbak's "Vanitas: Flesh Dress for an Albino Anorexic," a 1987 sculpture made from 50 pounds of raw flank steak. Sterbak's work, like the Gaga pastiche, riffs on cultural cravings for exposed female flesh. It's now in the collection of the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris' modern art museum.

You can see Mori's "Wave UFO" here; Sterback's "Vanitas" is here.

— Christopher Knight

 Photo: Lady Gaga arrives at the Grammy Awards. Credit: Kirk McKoy/Los Angeles Times.