Arts Desk

Take It to the Bridge, Week 4: Kathryn Cornelius

Dress number 3 – too small #needtolosemoreweight

It will be the sound of wedding bells Saturday at the Corcoran during this weekend's installment of "Take It to the Bridge,” the series co-presented by the Washington Project for the Arts: Performance artist Kathryn Cornelius plans to marry (and divorce) seven suitors. It’s a timely piece given all the recent hubbub regarding the sanctity of marriage and whether conservative Christians will ever accept homosexual matrimony (chicken with a pickle on a bun, anyone?). Cornelius’ performance will kick that sanctity crap in the knees. Let’s put aside that she’s getting married to, and divorced from, men and women (not at the same time—let’s be sensible!); her marriages will last about as long as Britney’s first, and before the day is over she’ll have been married as many times as Larry King.

If such pop references don’t prove marriage has already been “desanctified,” there's more to consider. The proposals have been public on Tumblr. She’s tweeted about the planning and the dating. She’s asking people to buy into the performance (to offset the costs). The private sanctity of this holy institution is as public as blood-stained wedding sheets. Even the final spouse-to-be has been chosen The Bachelor-style by voting members of the public.

But mostly the performance focuses on the contractual beginnings and endings—not the mushy stuff in between (unless you count the cake). And that’s kind of the point. Apart from the legal contract, marriages need work and support to survive, not lavish ceremony.

Come Saturday for an hourly Champagne toast to celebrate the nuptials of the bride and her betrothed, before they conclude their contractual matrimony in contractually permanent separation. Avoid if you expect Chik-fil-A to be served.

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  • leedeedeedee

    "apart from the legal contract," John, might be the signifier for why this performance seems as if the artist is ignoring what legal underpinnings that marriage stands for today (and stand for at given points in history), and why people are interested in still bothering to do it in the first place; most people who get married understand what they are getting into - they don't blindly check boxes on their tax forms. marriage has always been a public institution because the reality of human coupling mandates that world governments step in to support behaviors that pose as benefits to their respective societies. Pretending that there's some sort of prevailing misconception fueled by the stupidity of Christian people is unfair. the Corcoran charges exorbitant rates for wedding receptions -- it's at least interesting to see that they're unaware that they're allowing one of their prime moneymaking strategies to be mocked while still welcoming heterosexual couples and their status-beleaguered families to rain cash on them. now that's pretty stupid.