Art references in 30 Seconds to Mars

Hyperbolic as may seem, this tidings-detached self of mine knows no band to have recently incorporated more intentional art references of the sophisticated kind than 30 Seconds to Mars. And I’m emphasizing the intentionality bit on account of Jared Leto’s quasi-academic training in the field with particular regard to a music video he’s, among others, directed.

Because nowhere has he poured a larger quantity of postmodern aesthetics to equal the fine art imagery in which “Up in the Air”, their 4th album’s debut single, abounds.

Wolves, supermodels, gymnasts, butterflies, masked dancers and zebras galore intermingle to encapsulate a dream manipulated as a pretext for a whole array of concepts.

So it is naturally through this short movie that Leto’s “connoisseur”-tinted ingenuity reaches a certain apex I’m subsequently going to dissect. After I’m done with my dubiously eulogistic intro.

Now, having seen it, don’t you find it staggering to perceive, the visual impact of Dalinian structures built on cohering hallucinations? the juxtaposition of rich colors? or, more explicitly, the Warhol lips in focus?

To conjure up what is by the song itself implied to be a surreal atmosphere, these elements get jumbled with allegorical animals and people no less chimerical. In a Giger-like factory. Through which ramble the dreamers. Among several sculptures set on fire by the very man who devised them, a certain Maxwell Snow. And the omnipresent Damien Hirst pieces, including the largest spot painting ever produced.

The result amounts to a genuine celebration of contemporary art I wouldn’t have expected to appear so articulate in integrating such variety of sources, especially not to the extent that I couldn’t immediately grasp the reference.

For instance, the cameo of a Lucian Freud woman took me a while.

But I’m curious if you can spot other potential similarities to famous works?


Patricia Beykrat – the Roving Aesthete


3 responses to “Art references in 30 Seconds to Mars

  1. I accept the flies, butterflies and spots could be references to Hirst but that’s about it for me. Just because it features an overweight woman doesn’t IMHO constitute a reference to Freud’s Benefit Supervisor, does it?

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