Lady Gaga Defends Vomit Performance at SXSW as “Art In Its Purest Form”

Lady Gaga performs at SXSW on March 13, 2014
Lady Gaga responded to criticism of her performance at SXSW, which featured vomit artist Millie Brown Kevin Mazur/

To each her own. Lady Gaga knows some people were grossed out — or even offended — by her edgy performance at South by Southwest in Austin, Tex., where she brought so-called vomit painter Millie Brown onstage to throw up a green liquid all over her. But she stands by what she did. 

"I guess we weren't completely surprised [by the controversy]," Gaga, 27, told Savannah Guthrie when she stopped by the Today show on Friday, March 21. "Millie and I know that not everybody's going to love that performance, but we both really believe in artistic expression and strong identities. And I support her and what she does."

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Brown, also 27, came under fire for her part in the singer's SXSW show when Demi Lovato tweeted that vomit art glamorized eating disorders like bulimia. "Bottom line, it's not 'cool' or 'artsy' at all," the X Factor judge wrote. "Putting the word ART in it isn't a free card to do whatever you want without consequences."

Gaga might disagree. "ARTPOP, my new album, is about bringing art and music together in the spirit of creative rebellion," the "Applause" singer told Guthrie on Today. "And for [me and Millie], that performance was art in its purest form. But we totally understand that people won't be into it."

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She went on to say: "Did we want the controversy? I suppose it doesn't matter either way. We don't make things for any intention in particular, other than in the spirit of entertaining the crowd and creating something that was really for the moment."

Her vomit art stunt "wasn't meant for the Today show, it was meant for a club performance in Austin," she explained. "And we had a great time."

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Gaga further claimed that nothing she does is just for the attention. "We sometimes think that there's a perception that what I'm doing is all a big show," she said. "And I really truly feel that it's just part of who I am. Every moment of my life is devoted to my music and to my fans, and it's really truly me." She even told Guthrie she'd be doing the same kinds of things if she weren't famous, just "on the Lower East Side" instead of on a national stage.

"Your life is your own art piece," she said. "You can make it whatever you want."

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