Art, Over-Calculated PR Stunt, or Both?

Posted by Tim Mikulski, Feb 13, 2012 3 comments

I sat dumbfounded last night as the often-flamboyant Nicki Minaj attempted to, as a local TV personality put it, combine Madonna's controversial "Like a Prayer" performance with Lady Gaga's stage death performance on The Grammys.

There was a pope (who joined her on the red carpet), dancing monks(?), and an apparent ascension/exorcism...oh and there was singing and rapping in there, too.

While many non-artists (like me) are mostly just confused and wondering why Minaj's performance looked like bad theater, I'm wondering how the artists who visit ARTSblog feel about it.

Like many "controversial" art pieces, Minaj was out to make a point, but was it an artistic one (as Lady Gaga often attempts: see her performance art piece in drag from a the MTV Video Music Awards) or simply a PR stunt?

I know what FOX News and my local TV morning program think, but they're not necessarily my standard go-to source for art critique.

What do my fellow arts administrators and artists think? Add your comments below.

3 responses for Art, Over-Calculated PR Stunt, or Both?


February 13, 2012 at 12:24 pm

When one sees 'performance art' it always makes me think of its roots in DaDa and some sometimes the work of Joseph Beuys.
Gaga's work is more rooted in the DaDa performance genre for me personally, and interesting to watch and hear.
The only redeeming quality I saw in the performance last night was my own personal reference to Fellini and his constant obsession with the Roman catholic church. The rest didn't seem to have very well organized continuity. The theme, words, and visuals didn't connect for me personally and really came off rather embarrassing.

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Ashley says
February 14, 2012 at 11:41 am

To me it seemed much more like a montage of "shock value" moments strung together in an attempt to produce something epic, but in truth it failed miserably. There was no continuity, no passion, It came off more like a desperate girl's attempt to get as much attention and shock as many people as possible than anything of any real artistic quality at all.

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February 14, 2012 at 12:34 pm

Thanks George and Ashley. I appreciate you adding to the convo.

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