Anyone who has ever gone to a Madonna concert knows the woman has stamina. And at 56 years old, Madge has no plans of slowing down. In a recent interview with the Associated Press, Madonna said that she wants to continue working into her golden years. “I like to compare myself to other kinds of artists like Picasso. He kept painting and painting until the day he died.” Madonna continued: “I don’t think there’s a time, a date, an expiration date for being creative. I think you go until you don’t have anymore to say.”
If anyone can serve as proof that an expiration date is meaningless, it’s Madonna. Her career took off in 1983, when she was only 25, and her pop songs and fishnet stockings quickly became a staple of the eighties. She continued to reinvent herself decade after decade, outlasting all her contemporaries.
So, she might be on to something when comparing herself to Picasso. Madonna’s trajectory, much like the Spanish artist’s, is divided into clear, defining eras: Picasso had his Rose and Blue Periods; Madonna had her Blond Ambition phase and sexually charged Erotica era. Picasso revived his painting with Cubism; Madonna found Kabbalah and reinvented her sound with “Ray of Light.” There are even similarities in their personal lives. Picasso was a notorious womanizer with a weakness for younger women, while Madonna has made no secret of her fondness for 20-something men.
Surrounding herself with young, talented people is another way that Madonna has managed to stay relevant. In 2003, she made VMA history when she locked lips with Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera during a medley performance of “Hollywood” and “Like A Virgin.” For her 2008 album, Hard Candy, she collaborated with Justin Timberlake and Pharrell. Last year, she popped up for a surprise duet on Miley Cyrus’s MTV Unplugged special. This June, she released a new video for her song “Bitch I’m Madonna,” which rounded up an impressive cast of cameos including Beyoncé, Katy Perry, Nicki Minaj, Chris Rock, and Kanye West. And with age, comes an even savvier strategy: Madonna has now conscripted this summer’s most popular star, Amy Schumer, to be the opening act during her Rebel Heart tour. Really, if Taylor Swift learned the art of assembling a squad from anyone, it was from Madge.