Can you say "publicity stunt"?
Dan Zak of the Washington Post reports on the marriage of DC artists Dana Ellyn and Matt Sesow. Read the article here. I started to read it with only mild interest, but that interest quickly turned to an overwhelming feeling of "ugh." I know times have been tough for career artists who make their living selling their work to the public. But I didn’t think it was so tough that two moderately successful artists had to stoop to a new low and produce a show based on their own staged marriage. As the article states:
Everyone says they're perfect for each other, but no one thought they'd get married. They decided to do it when they realized they could craft a show called "Till Death Do Us Part." They'd paint about their impending nuptials, hang the art in a gallery, have a ceremony at the opening, invite the public, maybe cast themselves as a power couple in the D.C. art world.
Now do you see where my feeling of "ugh" comes from? If not, wait until you get to the part in the article about how they will continue to live apart after the wedding. Now?
I know there is a long history of themed weddings, but this one simply feels wrong. Maybe it has to do with previous divorces in the couple's past. Maybe it's the overt self-promotion. Maybe it's the fact that the art just isn't very good. Take any one of those things and add in Ms. Ellyn's and Mr. Sesow's lack of modesty, and I can tell you that I would never have exhibited either of their art... wedding or not.
A tangent to this rant: I can't help but think about the millions of Americans who fight against gay marriage, yet this stunt falls within their definition of "a-okay." Ugh.
[Images: Top, Cheers by Dana Ellyn; Bottom, Till Death Do Us Part by Matt Sesow.]