6 of the Coolest Fine Art Marriages, Love Actions, and Weddings

by - Saturday, August 27, 2011

We are right between our negative one anniversary and our actual eighth anniversary (so the Boy has been dating me a solid third of his life), so I am feeling pretty romantical. I tried to think of places where love and art coincided in cool ways, and this is what I came up with. There are lots of good art collaborations, but I tried to think of things that were also about the nature of the relationship expressing the emotion, however schmaltsy it may be (though I don't think these are overly gooey or sweet at all). I couldn't think of 10 good ones(things were getting to be a stretch) so I just picked ones I actually think resonate in cool ways. It also makes me feel like there is a lot of possibility in marrying someone and in love actions like a wedding.

from www.guggenheim.org

6. Dan Flavin got married to his second wife at the Guggenheim in 1992, in front  of this sculpture (and maybe a retrospective? I need to look that up). I want to write about this incidence someday, because there is something so true to Flavin about a wedding that is related to his work, a relationship very much illuminated by his work, but is not his work. He was the only minimalist (much less artist I can think of) that was constantly playing with dedications, a sort of peripheral context that had thoughtful resonance to the content of the work. The wedding somehow seems to fit into that lineage. Also, I just think that Flavin glow at a wedding has to be freaking amazing. It puts paper lanterns to shame!
from www.genesisbreyerporridge.com
5. I saw Genesis Breyer P-Orridge at a pretty mixed bag of a panel at CAA this February, but one of the positive impressions it left was a video piece between Genesis and the late Lady Jaye, where the very committed partners explained their project Breyer P-Orridge, in which they were becoming one pandrogynous entity, taking on each other's physical qualities. P-Orridge described their relationship in terms that a lot of people could recognize; a sort of mutual and enthusiastic deep mutual understanding. Breyer P-Orridge became a (hormone-induced, plastic surgery-laden) fusion between them, a single artist that erased all difference between them and transcended (and reveal and break down)gender and socially-constituted identities.This project took an interesting turn after Lady Jaye's passing, as Genesis now embodies the entire entity (one article I read about this suggested he was trying to become his late wife, but the writer's gendered terms pretty much reveal how much she misses the point). It's strange to think about all of this as a love action, and it certainly begs questions of some Freudian model of narcissism, but in another way I think it is more interesting to build an entity from a basis of love, as it unsettles (and supports) gendered reproduction as well. 

from www.ardena.info

4. After Breyer P-Orridge, George Maciunus and Billie Hutching's cross dressing wedding seems really tame and sweet (granted, this was 20 years earlier). Lithuanian immigrant Maciunus was the organizer and center of a 60's performance strain called Fluxus, and he essentially treated the group as a large family unit (it even centered around a few heterosexual couples, according to Kristen Stiles). Very sick with pancreatic and liver cancer, Maciunus married the poet only a few months before his death. I'm not sure how loving their relationship was, but the fluxuswedding was a whole new kind of art event, and the first wedding I can think of that was framed as a performance.

from www.phaidon.com
3. This one is kind of backward, but in the famous final collaboration between the now very famous Marina Abramovic and her partner Ulay was first conceived of as ending with a wedding, but it instead ended with their parting forever. The two began on opposite ends of the Great Wall of China, and they walked toward one another until they met in the middle (thats over a thousand miles a piece). Abramovic saw the long journey as a fitting end to their mystic and romantic relationship. It's pretty romantic (in a bleak, downer kind of way), but is it weird that I think the coolest part is that she walked half of the Great Wall?
 from content.time.com
2. John Lennon and Yoko Ono's Bed-In- in these two works (I think one was in Canada and the other was in Amsterdam?), the couple staged a bed in (like a sit in) against the Vietnam War.  The couple brought awareness to their rhetoric of peace (and spawned oodles of rock star copies in later years), but I think the work is also a testament to the beautiful equality of their relationship (the same quality that made so many uncomfortable with them even though they were like the best couple ever). This work resonates far beyond a simple consideration of marital love, but again it cannot be ignored that it starts there, that they see the intimate space and relation they share as potentially empowering for others. To spread that positivity that is born out of a loving partnership seems especially powerful, because it is a space where outsiders have been denied access.

from www.brooklynmuseum.org

from strangebedfellowsexhibition.wordpress.com
1. Annie Sprinkle and Elizabeth Stephen's Love Art Lab- there are not enough good things I can say of this project, most likely because it is born out of such a positive place. The artists got married once a year for 7 years, and each year is granted a color (eventually making a rainbow) and some essential qualities. I did a presentation on this project as an undergrad, and now I think the most beautiful thing about it is how their priorities have changed in a way that is dictated by the relationship they have as well as their larger mission of positive social change. If you go through the thorough documentation of the project (check the website! it is awesome!), you can see that the two women faced down cancer together, went through some crazy looks, and eventually merged their project with a growing concern with the environment (and ecosex). Not only do these two women show the positive possibilities of loving one another and remaining committed, the long duration of the project also explores the long term of their love, which for anyone seeking marriage is the end game, right? Their work can be about making things last by making things flexible and opening them up to mean something. It's a powerful message among about 50 powerful messages; so for serious, check the website!

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