At the launch party for her new short film called secretprojectrevolution, Madonna covered Elliott Smith’s “Between the Bars.” But unlike Smith’s original version about love and alcohol, the Material Girl turned her cover into a performance art piece about the prison industrial complex.
The performance, which took place at the Gagosian Gallery in New York City on Sept. 24, begins with Madonna being dragged across the floor by two men dressed as prison guards. She is soon on her knees singing, “Drink up baby, look at the stars/ I’ll kiss you again between the bars/ Where I’m seeing you there with your hands in the air/ Waiting to finally be caught,” as if at any moment she might burst into tears.
Secretprojectrevolution is a 17-minute film Madonna made in conjunction with photographer and frequent Madge collaborator Steven Klein that addresses discrimination and injustice in the world. You can watch the entire film below:
In a statement, Klein described the film as an examination of “our private prisons. It questions what we do, how we do it and how we treat others. It questions our governments, and our collective thought patterns. Think about it – the power of art can lead to peace.”
According to the blog, Boy Culture, Madonna used last night’s performance to talk about the Art For Freedom campaign, which she launched with Klein. The two artists are asking people all over the world to send in videos, photos and poetry answering the question “What does freedom mean to you?”
“When I say I wanna start a revolution, that is exactly what I mean. I mean I want to start a movement of people, of artists, who are not worried about winning popularity contests, who are not worried about approval, who are not worried about whether their ass looks good,” she said. “Although it is important to have a good-looking ass…”