Got Beef? Fashion goes HAM.. or rather Bovine.
When people hear meat in fashion, many are immediately reminded of Lady Gaga’s meat dress. After all, no one had the gall to think of such a rare feat for years. However, looking back through art and fashion’s history. Lady Gaga’s wearing of a meat dress was not so unique after all.
The first recorded use of meat in art and fashion was in the 1960s. Carol Schneeman performed Meat Joy where it was described that she and seven other artists cavorted on stage with a bevy of raw fare including fish, sausage, and chicken meat. The only thing missing is an easy meatloaf recipe and they could’ve held a banquet feast at the stage.
Kidding aside, the performance was meant to celebrate human sexuality by being naked as what happened in the time of Dionysius. Schneeman defended her performance stating that the human body in its naked form is much more expressive than a society hell bent on negating people’s sexuality.
Much closer to Lady Gaga’s feat is Jana Sterbak’s meat sculpture done in 1987 for the Vanitas: Flesh Dress for Albino Anorexic. Some people even say that Lady Gaga ripped off Sterbak’s idea since critics have noticed a lot of similarities between the sculpture and Lady Gaga’s dress.
To Lady Gaga’s credit, Sterbak’s sculpture was made of 50 pounds of flank steak that’s decidedly raw. This was then stitched into a garment and and displayed at the exhibit. Expectedly, there was a huge outcry over it and people were flabbergasted. This was in 1991 at Canada’s National Gallery.
What influenced Sterbak’s sculpture is the exhibition theme which celebrates and reminds its audiences of fleshly mortality. Of course, there’s also the anorexic reference in the theme and could also be meant as a commentary on the sick, thin models of the time. The good thing is, Lady Gaga’s looked a bit fresher than the rotting steak sculpture of Sterbak. Similarly, there’s also such a thing as a meat hat. Lady Gaga has never acknowledged Sterbak’s influence although she did mention something about a meat hat.
Another creation that utilized the influence of meat is Ada Rajszys’ Meat Pattern, where she made hybrid paintings that can be worn as well. In one of her paintings that depicted a meat-like influence, Rajszys explained that it’s meant to question the fact that are we really wearing meat or are we the ones becoming meat?
In 2008, a group of artists took a cue from Schneeman’s performance and made their own version of Meat Joy named Meat After Meat Joy. There were a lot of fleshly offerings in the exhibit as well as bloody, raw ones. Aside from meat, the exhibition’s theme also featured body and gender.
In the same year, America’s Next Top Model also put a spin in their own meat couture. They had a photo shoot in a slaughterhouse where models were made to wear beef briefs and meat drapes. Although the previous other artists in the list were primarily concerned about the theme of body and sexuality in relation to meat, Tyra is just probably looking for a challenge that’s gross enough to rate on TV and make the participants squirm.Read More