​lady gaga is being sued for born this way's pointy face lumps

French body-mod performance artist Orlan is suing Gaga and her creative team for plagiarism.

by Charlotte Gush
Jan 7 2016, 11:47pm

French "carnal artist" Orlan is suing Lady Gaga for plagiarism, as she believes the pointy appendages Gaga sports on her face in the video for "Born This Way" too-closely resemble her own cosmetic surgery-based performance art work. According to a report by Page Six, the artist plans to subpoena the creative team behind the music video, including fashion director Nicola Formichetti and make-up artist Billy Brasfield.

Orlan has gone under the surgeon's knife for her art since the early 90s, having temporary implants in her face and body while she is awake, often reading long texts and playing music during the procedure. Designers including Issey Miyake and Paco Rabanne have made outfits for her to wear during the surgery.

"My work is a fight against nature and the idea of God… the inexorability of life, DNA-based representation. And that's why I went into cosmetic surgery; not looking to enhance or rejuvenate, but to create a total change of image and identity," Orlan is quoted as having said of her work in a number of online sources. "I claim that I gave my body to art. The idea is to raise the issue of the body, its role in society and in future generations, via genetic engineering, to mentally prepare ourselves for this problem," she added.

"Whether in France or in the United States, Orlan's unique artwork should be protected. We hope that questioning members of Lady Gaga's creative team will aid the French court in deciding the case," the artist's US lawyers told Page Six.

Gaga's legal representative countered that, "This is nothing but an attempt by the plaintiff to generate US press coverage around a meritless case that was filed in France several years ago."

This isn't the first time Lady Gaga has been accused of taking too-literal inspiration from the art world. The infamous meat dress she wore to the 2010 MTV Music Video Awards has been likened to artist Jana Sterbak's 1987 work Vanitas: Flesh Dress for an Albino Anorectic, though the artist did not pursue legal action against her.

Gaga's appropriation of various artworks raises interesting questions about ownership, considering she is not presenting the inspired looks as artworks that she seeks to profit from in and of themselves, but to integrate them into her pop star persona. Whether that amounts to plagiarism is now for the courts to decide.


Photography Nick Knight

lady gaga
Born this way
Nicola Formichetti
body modification
law suit