Madonna, Lady Gaga, Rihanna and Steven Klein’s #SecretProject: What’s Going On?


Madonna‘s recent arrival to the Instagram party has been delightfully weird, rule-breaking and, as is her usual M.O., rather iconic. (So much so, in fact, that each new upload seems to warrant another post here at MuuMuse.)

But in the past few days, the Queen of Pop has been doing more than just channeling Bettie Paige for Purim and stanning hard for Frida Kahlo, Marilyn Minter and Man Ray. No, she’s got something up her kimono sleeves: She’s going to tell us a secret — again.

Three days ago, the Queen posted an artsy photo of herself in tears (above) with the caption “#secretroject.” (She misspelled of course, but I kind of want to keep #secretroject alive.) And today, she posted another #secretproject shot–in a jail cell. “#secretproject. We all live in a prison. One way or another. But there’s hope…… A way to escape.”

The term #secretproject isn’t new, though: It’s one that’s been cropping up in the pop world for months now, all leading back to photographer Steven Klein, responsible for the “X-STaTIC PRO=CeSS” installation used during the Re-Invention Tour and the Confessions On A Dance Floor album shoot, among many other collaborations.

Madonna’s not the only name attached to the #secretproject, either: Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Dita Von Teese and Cher are all rumored to be involved too.


Back in January, Klein was reaching out to several pop princesses via Twitter.

“This is Steven Klein Photographer. I am doing a secret project that is political and artistic. Its time that we work together” Klein tweeted to Cher back in December. “i am doing a secret project that we can do and we can go off the charts and be wild @rihanna #secretproject,” he said to Rihanna.

“miss you stud. how about every time we throw a party we just hang out in a glass bubble and let no one in. oh wait..” Gaga tweeted to Klein, to which he responded: “i have something hotter in mind but its forbidden..its everything @ladygaga.”


When Perez Hilton posted a leaked photo on the set of a Steven Klein production with Madonna back in December, he assumed it was for an upcoming music video. But in Klein’s response to Perez, he referred to it as a #secretproject instead.

Most recently, Klein’s official Tumblr reblogged (and thus, seemingly confirmed) a news item about the #secretproject which mentions involvement from the assorted pop stars, along with a photo of an oversized notebook that Lady Gaga apparently sent to Klein back in January regarding the project.

Klein’s been stressing out about the project for months. He recently went off on a bit of a rant about art, artists, and artists creating art for the sake of the secret project:

well artist often have recurring themes in their works: repeating symbols that come from their unconscious/that is part of art. we are all influenced by the world and other artists but we hopefully bring something personal to it and bring another view. we can continue this imagine battle between camps of fans or we can merely respect each person has their own preference. art is not created in a vacuum and things can be an evolution of other things. not so much preaching but thoughts merely to consider simply that, nothing more. the secret project is not completed and involves many people and spectrums and it is NOT COMMERCIAL. approaching a NON-COMMERCIAL venture in this day and age is DAUNTING, one has to be of a strong conviction.

When asked by a follower how many people were participating in the project, he revealed: “at the moment 40” before amusingly following up that thought: “and no it is not WE ARE THE WORLD #secretproject.”

So with all this, what can we actually deduce? It’s evidently some sort of massive artistic (NON-COMMERCIAL!) #ARTPOP collaboration between some of the biggest names in pop culture. It will be “SPECTACULAR, BRAUTIFUL and CONTROVERSIAL,” according to the photographer. Knowing who’s involved, there’s clearly some sort of political/social critique being made. And it’s happening—whatever it actually is—and it may arrive as soon as May 12. It will also be made up of two parts–whatever that means.

For a full look at all the clues, check out the screenshots of Klein’s tweets and leaked photos (so far).

And there you have it: #secretproject, the iamamiwhoami of 2013.

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