Friday, May 26, 2017

Mattress Girl Bound

The part that takes your breath away is that the Vice website takes this seriously. The Vice reporter thinks that it’s art when a dazed and confused young woman declares herself a performance artist, then strips down to a thong bikini and allows herself to be whipped by a professional dominatrix. Better yet, the site accepts when the woman in question, Emma Sulkowicz, formerly known as “Mattress Girl,” declares that art is about making political statements.

Four years at Columbia University just went down the drain.

You might remember, Sulkowicz’s parents are both psychoanalysts. They must be proud of their errant offspring.  One wishes that they could have provided her with even the most elementary guidance. If you do not feel badly for them and for her you have no feelings at all.

Vice thinks it's high art and political propaganda when a young woman takes off most of her clothing in public. 

Vice tells Mattress Girl’s story:

Emma Sulkowicz is a performance artist living and working in New York City, though most recognize her as the Columbia University student who made headlines her senior year in 2014. Sulkowicz, then a visual arts undergraduate, focused her thesis Mattress Performance (Carry That Weight) on hauling a dorm room twin-size mattress everywhere on campus to protest the university's mishandling of her sexual assault complaint against a fellow student. Sulkowicz and Mattress Performance sparked a national debate about sexual assault on campus. As coverage increased, Sulkowicz—wielding a 50-pound mattress and wearing blue hair, a somber expression, and absolute resolve—became the center of a larger culture war tearing through America.

One recalls, because Vice recalls it, that Mattress Girl topped off her first performance piece by doing a graphic pornographic video of what apparently happened during what she—but not the police—called her rape. What's wrong with being respect for your mind?

Vice has been keeping track of her career:

Sulkowicz has furiously continued her work as an artist. Soon after, she released Ceci N'est Pas Un Viol, a follow-up to Mattress Performance. Then, she had her first individual gallery show in Los Angeles. For the past year, Sulkowicz has been enrolled in the Whitney Museum's Independent Study Program (ISP) and on May 20th, graduated with a performance at the program's studio exhibition in midtown Manhattan.

Perhaps you want to know why Mattress Girl chose to be bound and gagged by a professional dom. Vice has the answer:

As Sulkowicz explored that question in relation to performance art, she realized that by design, every sinking ship has a sinking woman on its masthead. "So, I told my classmates I was going to wear an American flag bikini and hang from the wall of the gallery in the shape of a figurehead of a ship, making a statement about the impotence of artwork during our given circumstances."

She is protesting. She is attacking white male hegemony. She is trying to save the world. She thinks that every sinking ship has a sinking woman on the masthead. Question for the day: can you distinguish a sculpture of a woman from a real woman?

Sulkowicz explained:

“[I chose] to have a white man tie me up while wearing a business suit with a Whitney necktie, while I wear a Whitney ISP thong bikini," Sulkowicz said.

As for the performance, here is what happened:

As the performance started, this man in a suit, named Master Avery, started to berate Sulkowicz. "Your boobs are too small," he spat. "You can't even stand up straight." He pulled a long, gnarled rope out of a black leather bag and started tying intricate knots around her upper thigh. Once the knots covered both of Sulkowicz's legs, Master Avery started around her waist, moving her body as he worked quickly.

Just in case you think that you took a wrong turn and found yourself in a BDSM dungeon, Sulkowicz explained:

"We're acting out this sadistic-masochistic relationship between the institution with all of its financial power, and this program that wants to be political but can't be really because it's being tied up by this institution," Sulkowicz explained.

And then:

Using a pulley system attached to the ceiling, he used his whole body to lift her from the ground, and after a few tries, Sulkowicz was suspended with her arms and legs wrapped around the beam, rendering her immobile. The rope visibly cut into her skin as Master Avery took off his belt and started hitting her with it.

Such is what passes for art among enlightened New York elites. Be sure to curb your enthusiasm.




Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

The problem with art today is it IS all about making political statements. Creating something beautiful is much more challenging, worthy of a master. That takes many years of diligent study and practice. Young artists can't produce that level of work yet, so they give in to their pseudo-radical environment and show "courage" by creating ugly pieces that merely parrot the crowd. Wow. Profound.

Katielee4211 said...

Maybe, at the root, she's acting out against her parents.

Ares Olympus said...

I agree with Katielee4211, it must be some sort of rebellion against her parents. Is it too late for her parents to set some boundaries?

Seeing this, you'd almost prefer your child would grow up to be something normal like an axe murderer.

trigger warning said...

Maybe, at root, she's a masochist and likes it. Consider the sales and boxoffice for 50 Shades. Mostly women.

Sam L. said...

Ares, that was a very perceptive comment! Funny, too.

Sam L. said...

If the NY "elites" think this is art, I question their sanity.

David Foster said...

Linked in my new Worthwhile Reading post at Chicago Boyz:

Stuart Schneiderman said...

Thank you, David, for the link.

James said...

Well after all of that she'll need that mattress.

Sal said...

Emma is a natural-born exhibitionist and nympho.

Had she been born into a working class family, she would have been a stripper, prostitute, or porn worker, and that would have been that.

But because she was brought up in an intellectual upper-status environment, she feels a need to ideologically justify her harlotry.

So, she turns everything into a 'statement'.