A French artist is suing Lady Gaga for plagiarism.
Orlan, who's been active in the French art scene for decades, claims Gaga basically aped her style, and has a list of reasons why this is the case.
Notably, Gaga, like Orlan, takes a stage name, and employs visual and conceptual references to Catholic imagery, the human body, and celebrity.
That sounds broad, and without a doubt it is.
Yet there's an entire Tumblr dedicated to the similarities between the two, Gagaorlan, and in a 1993 Art in America feature, Orlan is described as such:
"Orlan has trafficked in notions of an ambiguous and constantly shifting identity."
"Her actions call into question whether our self-representations conform to an inner reality or whether they are actually carefully contrived falsehoods fabricated for marketing purposes, in the media or in society at large."
"Orlan leaves her background deliberately fuzzy, the better to maintain the anonymity required to project an enigmatic 'star quality.'"
Does sort of ring a bell, doesn't it?
From the Lady Gaga hermaphrodite controversy to Orlan's elective plastic surgery as "performance art," one can't deny there are parallels between them.
From a legal standpoint, Orlan is reportedly focusing on one rather specific image from Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" music video to make her case.
The lawsuit mentions an image of Gaga's severed head in the intro and its resemblance to a 90's Orlan sculpture, “Femme Avec Tête” (“Woman With Head”).
The lawsuit also cites another work of Orlan's, "Bumpload."
Does she have a case? Clearly there's a difference here between creating an homage to an iconic work of art and ripping off someone's work.
However, that is oftentimes a very thin line.
Orlan seems to think that Gaga's apparent, repeated references to her work are the latter, and wants 7.5 percent of the profits from her Born This Way album.
For her part, Gaga actually talked about Orlan back in 2011, as part of an interview with NME, and basically she said she hadn't heard of her:
"Who's Orlan?" Gaga asked, grabbing her MacBook as she was asked if that was an influence on her. "Do people think that's where I got it from?"
Upon Googling her, the pop superstar exclaimed, "Oh my gosh. (Gasps) What is that? It's quite beautiful. That's weird! (Thinks) It's very fabulous."
"Well, I'm going to be inspired by her now, thank you!"