I know I have. And now we know the answer: It’s been taxidermied! (Is taxadermied a word? Well, if it isn’t, it is now. So there.) And what’s more, you can visit it!
One of the things I love about Gaga is that she wears whatever the hell she wants, and if people don’t like it, well, tough. I use image of her infamous meat dress, which she wore at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards, a lot, mostly because the dress represents pretty much everything that Gaga is. That doesn’t mean, though, that I don’t occasionally look at what she’s doing and go, “Whaaa?” This is another thing the meat dress represents, and while there are many meaningful lenses one can use to analyze it, I’m always left with the more practical questions– questions like, how much does it weigh? Or, isn’t it kind of cold? Or, perhaps most importantly, what on Earth did she do with it when she was done wearing it?
And now we have an answer to that question. First, her handlers stuck it in the freezer as soon as she was done wearing it. Bits of it may already have been rotting– that’s what happens when you put a whole bunch of raw meat under very, very hot stage lights– but into the freezer it went, because as we all know, if you freeze your leftovers, they will last FOREVER. Around that time, the curators of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum in Cleveland contacted Gaga’s managers and asked if they might be able to exhibit the dress. Her managers said sure, why the hell not; but obviously, something had to be done to the dress to make it displayable, since the idea of making museum patrons walk into a giant freezer to view the dress seemed like a bad idea. So, off the dress went– to Sergio Vigalato, a taxidermist who works at a place called American Taxidermy in Burbank, California. Four months and a whole lot of chemicals later, the dress has been dried out, painted to make it look more like fresh meat than beef jerky, and shipped off to Cleveland, where it joins the museum’s current exhibit, Women Who Rock: Vision, Passion, Power. The exhibit will run until February 26, 2012.
Gaga’s own explanation of the dress is actually pretty in depth:
“It was actually inspired by my makeup artist, Valium Garland. She wore meat in the 70s, to go out to parties, and we were talking about it, then as she was telling me the story I was actually in the middle of writing my speech for Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repeal, I did a big rally in Maine. And I called it the prime rib of America…the prime rib of the American Constitution is equality. The best cut of meat this country has to offer. So I wore the meat dress as a statement about equality, wearing the best cut meat and arriving and taking as my dates with me discharged soldiers, under the enforcement of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell in the military. So it means something to me for many reasons, one, it was a very big night for myself and the Haüs of Gaga, winning all those amazing awards at the VMA’s, and feeling like the cool kids, but more importantly, the power of young people– the power of the young generation to use their voices to mobilize change. That meat dress represents part of, a very small, small part of the movement towards equality, and for it to be honored in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is the shit.”
Sometimes I wonder whether she’s totally right or really reaching; pretty much everything she does is carefully calculated for maximum impact, though, so I kind of buy it. Whether or not you do, though, I know you want to see what the dress looks like now, so here you go: