On Thursday, Katy Perry staged a very weird prank at New York City’s The Whitney Art Museum in which she made hapless strangers think her severed head was sitting at the center of a fruit plate. The prank was an innovative marketing stunt to market Perry’s new single “Bon Appetit.” It was bizarre, it was awkward, the guest reactions were amazing, and it was all captured on video by Variety.
In the video, Variety columnist Derek Blasberg takes Katy Perry into one of The Whitney’s private rooms before having her sit under a table with a head-sized hole in the center. Once Perry’s head is through the hole and resting on the table, Blasberg and his team surround it with a metal plate — again, with a hole in it to accommodate Katy’s head — and surround the head with a variety of fruit. The end product is what looks like a fruit plate with Katy Perry’s disembodied head (complete with her new peroxide-blond hairstyle) in the middle sitting of a white and blue-checked table cloth atop a wooden table.
Blasberg proceeds to go out into the public area of the museum and prospect for a group of guests who would be willing to participate in an unnamed “video art installation.” A few of the guests approached, who will no doubt be kicking themselves once they realize what they passed up, refused. After a few shots, though, Derek manages to find some unsuspecting “victims.”
— JOHNLORD (@johnlordperry) September 26, 2016
After the guests file into the private room, Blasberg uncovers the head. The guests quickly realize it is supposed to be Katy Perry, but, due in part to Perry’s unmoving face and closed eyes, they think she is fake.
At that point, notes TIME, the guests look bored and awkward. A few look shocked at what appears to be a brutal scene and others look grossed out. One comments on how creepy the “art installation” is and one simply asks “what the f**k?”
Blasberg tells the guests the piece was created by Katheryn Hudson, which, unbeknownst to the guests, is Katy Perry’s birth name. He also explains the supposed deeper meaning of the “art.”
“It’s a rumination on the feast of life and everything we have to eat. And the two-faced capitalist system that we are currently living in.”
“Is she the artist?” one woman asks, indicating the “disembodied” head.
Katy suddenly opens her eyes, looks straight at the woman, and says “I sure am” before returning to the closed-eyed position she was in before.
The guests figure the head is simply programmed to come to life and say certain things.
Over the next minute, Perry gradually begins interacting with the guests more and more, at one point joking with them that she is actually Miley Cyrus, and it takes them a little while to grasp that they have been standing in a room with the one and only Katy Perry. It’s pretty funny, but it’s also a little uncomfortable how the guests look so bored and look like they just want to get out of that room until they realize Katy Perry’s head is real.
Again, the “exhibit” is actually a publicity stunt for Perry’s brand new “Bon Appetit.” And SPIN, who are as unhappy with the song as the visitors were with the Katy Perry head showcase when they filed into the room, say that what was on display was a very good representation of the music it plugs: “daring and edgy but weirdly limp and untitillating, leaving you with an intense desire to spend your time doing literally anything else.”
Listen to the song below and let us know what you think. Are you a fan or do you want Perry to put a lid on it, just as Blasbern does at the end of the video when he puts the metal lid back over Katy Perry’s head?
Perry recently revealed the title for her upcoming album, Witness, and the album cover. She also released another track featuring “Swish Swish” and featuring Nicki Minaj as a bonus for those who pre-order the album.
[Image by Rich Fury/Getty Images]