Sunday, December 18, 2011

Lady Gaga by Tony Bennett

Tony Bennett is not the kind of visual artist I usually mention to my readers, but I'll make an exception today. The iconic singer collaborated with Lady Gaga on "Lady is a Tramp" featured on his new album Duets II. Then Bennett, 85, sat in on Annie Leibovitz's New York photo shoot for the current issue of Vanity Fair and created a charcoal portrait of the nude Lady Gaga, 25. It was published in Vanity Fair along with Leibovitz's photos and is now offered on eBay in a charity auction. Hey, there's always something to blog about.

I mention this not because I admire the artwork--good heavens, I don't--or because I am hoping to attract legions of music fans to my little illustration blog--I wouldn't be able to hold their interest for three seconds. The thing that strikes me about this auction is the sheer brilliance of this is as a publicity grab! I am truly amazed.

We live in a post-Warhol world where getting attention is seemingly its own art form. Lady Gaga is, I believe, a master in this area, and I suppose Annie Leibovitz and Tony Bennett are way above average at the publicity game in their respective fields. It doesn't hurt that they are each prodigiously talented.

But Tony Bennett's talents as a visual artist aren't in the same league as his musical talents. This drawing of an unclothed Lady Gaga which, at this writing, has a healthy bid of $15,200 but hasn't met its reserve, is getting attention not for its artistic vision but rather for its status as a unique object of celebrity memorabilia which, incidentally, can be hung on a wall and talked about ad infinitum once the bidding is over. If I close my eyes, I am truly dazzled.

Lady Gaga by Tony Bennett

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Lady Gaga - The Lady Is A Tramp

(Full Song ft. Tony Bennett)


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