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French Artist Orlan Sues Lady Gaga for Plagiarism

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French artist Orlan is suing Lady Gaga and the French subsidiary of Universal Music for plagiarism in a Paris court. In the lawsuit, the artist accuses the singer of stealing from her to construct the visual universe of her third album, “Born This Way.” According to Le Quotidien de l’Art, which broke the story, Orlan is demanding $31.7 million or 7.5 percent of the profits from the album and video.

The lawsuit specifically mentions the beginning of the video of “Born This Way,” which features Lady Gaga’s made-up decapitated head. Indeed, it is very similar to Orlan’s sculpture “Femme Avec Tête” (“Woman With Head”) from 1996.

This isn’t the first time Lady Gaga has been accused of freely taking ideas from the visual arts realm. She already made Orlan’s facial implants her own (though it was kind of like raiding your best friend’s closet for her high heels). And the famous meat dress she wore at the MTV Video Music Awards in 2010 was borrowed from a similar dress made by artist Jana Sterbak.

But intellectual property issues can be hard to pin down in imagery and performance. Where should be the line be drawn between inspiration and theft? In 2011, Belgian choreographer Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker accused Beyoncé of plagiarizing her work in a music video, but this didn’t result in a lawsuit. Perhaps the current case will help settle some of these thorny questions.

—Céline Piettre

(Photo via The Style Lectures)

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  1. Uhm. WHAT? You are not the first person to use face implants for art. Does she not remember the circle David Bowie wore on his forehead?

    And even if Lady Gaga did steal the idea from this woman, she is about 2 years too late. Good lord.

  2. by Art justice

    It’s about time an artist suing Lady Gaga. The mainstream audience are unaware and uneducated with this sort of art form that has been plagIarised by popstars all the time. Jana Sterbak should sue Lady Gaga for the meat dress and meat chair. Also turning the meat dress into jerky sculpture. Every artists has been ripped off by Lady Gaga need to stand up an take back what has been stolen without properly credited.

  3. what a THIRSTY HUNGRY BETCH. Get off Gaga’s nuts, please.

  4. Tha hell gurl! Get off my queen gaga!silly 2 years too late

  5. This makes me kind of sad. Orlan’s moment has obviously passed, and it has seemed to me for a while that she never really attained the goals she originally set out for. She was once one of the most interesting contemporary artists.

    I’m not a big fan of Lady Gaga, but she certainly succeeded in reaching a much wider audience than Orlan, safely sequestered within the ivory tower of the fine arts world, ever did, and raised some of the same issues, albeit in a much more shallow and palatable way.

    This lawsuit ain’t going anywhere.

  6. lady gaga is over!!!! her 15 minuets are up! she will amount to anything

  7. by Luther Blisset

    Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker did accuse Beyoncé of plagiarism. Its true, it didn’t go to court, rather it resulted in a BIG out of court settlement. Really big. In that case though, Beyoncè’s video directors used not just costumes, dance moves and staging from an ADTK dance work, but also used specific camera angles from the film of said work, by director Theirry De Mey, who also received a settlement out of court. That said, where do Orlans or ADTK’s ideas come from? Ideas are contagious, and so called “intellectual property” is a sham, a failure of solidarity, and a retrograde, authoritarian understanding of creativity, intellectuality and imagination.

  8. by escapology

    Go Orlan! We are with you!

  9. I did see the Beyonce choreography and that was definitely stolen. Everything from the choreography, clothes, hair and even the set and amount of people. Now that is plagiarism. Someone who uses face implants. I’m not so sure that’s going to go very far. Especially with such a heavy price tag.

  10. by Perez the Leech

    Lmao, Perez Hilton posted this story on his site. He continues to be butt hurt because he can’t leech off his former “friend” anymore, now that she found out he’s a backstabbing little bitch.

  11. by Poodle Perry

    This is an important issue that needs to be dealt with. Lady Gaga has plagiarized many things not only from Orlan, but other contemporary artists. Gaga was interviewed by NME during her ‘Born This Way’ period and they brought up the similarities between her prosthetics and Orlan’s real “horns” and Gaga played coy acting as if she had never heard of Orlan. Very disappointing. Some friends and I made a blog highlighting Gaga’s plagiarism, here:

  12. Why did the writer not mention McQueen Plato’s Atlantis run way show? A simple search would show that is where Lady Gaga got the implant idea from. McQueen was friends with Lady Gaga and even used “Bad Romance” during the show and lent many outfits for its music video to her.

  13. Gaga still alive ..? jesus

  14. by Carolino REGO

    oui luther, FOUCAULT disait : ” dans quelle mesure l’artiste est inventeur de son art ? ” ne tire t’il pas profit du ” deja existant ” ? de BUONAROTTI a CATTELAN…c’est donc pour ORLAN une chance pour devenir l’alter ego de LADY GAGA ( qui m’indiffère )CA.RE

  15. I guess then I’m entitled to 231 millions?As most in the artworld know about Gaga’s Barneys Christmas WIndows-(2011-) replica of my legendary living environment .much more serious a crime!…. Art Info was one of the first to report it

  16. Oh good grief. If Orlan can sue Gaga for the face makeup than the makeup artists on Star Trek can sue Orlan.

  17. Gaga doesn’t have a single original bone in her body.
    She is just a cheap, second rate copy of all the greats……
    fatty boom boom is bye bye

  18. Art is a form of plagiarism – Eva and Franco Mattes

  19. art is a grey area in this matter- orlan is not the first person to have implants in their face as a fashion statement. you can easily say lady gaga is copying because you want to. or, a fact is she does riff off things that have already been done. the meat dress and this and etc is recontextualizing these ideas however there is a thin line sometimes when it becomes your style to recontextualize other people’s aesthetic.

  20. oh yeah like : everyone on here should sue lady gaga for being a poser

  21. I have been part of the underground subculture for awhile and I have seen Lady Gaga even steal from the subculture people.Most of whom are starving artist.Lady Gaga has more money then God and could put it to good use by developing her own creativity.

  22. As both a professional artist and art historian, I say this whole case is tripe. Any real artist, such as Orlan, knows that inspiration is art, and that This is far from “plagiarism”, but rather the natural cycle of the art world. Lady Gaga us an artist, and she is simply using Indpirations to design her own world. This is art and has been for millennia. Orlando is just trying to see if she can get away with this and come out with some money. She should know inside that Lady Gaga has actually taken a similar form of visual art and evolved it into something bigger. THIS IS THE WAY ART WORKS.

  23. Sorry for the spelling errors, I blame Apple. It’s quite late at night and I didn’t catch them before. Don’t bother pointing them out, thank you.

  24. And let’s not forget Asian artist Zhang Huan’s meat suit aswell. But how can you criminalise artistic licence? It’s very grey.

  25. C’est de l’art ou du cochon???
    Orlan is trying to capitalize on Lady Gaga’s fame, it’ all about the love of money.

  26. wel lets say it like this gaga is me with female genetals, she is modelled after me, look at my work
    i should have worked in 2006 in pacha new york, but then got a psychoses instead
    gaga is a pick up from the street and then given the perveted version of my cybersissy persona
    even the monster tour is modellled after my plans for the new pacha discothek of new york, i chose the theme the wizard of oz
    its a hit and run business
    they would help themselves when acknoweledging their sources instead of letting me stand here as the stupidcase of paranoya

  27. Check out Alexander McQueen Summer 2010 collection. And you will know where she took that make-up from. And even her blonde and black hairdo, she took it from Daphne Guinness.

    That’s all I wanna say.

  28. what a useless overrated c****t

  29. you kidding me right? orlan has one tiny looking prawn tail thing stuck on her head and grey hair half died black. lady gaga has an actual schulptured mask and blond hair. orlan looks ugly how she can call that art is beyond me gaga’s looks good another one after gaga’s money

  30. What’s up to all, how is the whole thing, I think every one is getting more from this web page, and your views are fastidious designed for new visitors.

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