Yesterday, Vanity Fair treated us to an inside look at the deeply strange wedding of Sean Parker and Alexandra Lenas. Everyone has made copious fun of the wedding on social media for its half-assed (and frankly a little creepy) blend of the Celtic fringe, Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings aesthetics. Yet is notable not so much for the nerdiness of it (more power to nerds!) as for the havoc it wreaked on the local environment (which Parker denies with only middling convincingness). In an attempt at self-justification, Parker claims that he and his bride were trying to make “performance art.” He is hardly the first to try to describe wedding ceremony in this way; all weddings incorporate an element of performance.
Performance art is as performance art does, unfortunately, and mostly what this did was demonstrate an almost obscene kind of wealthy indifference reminiscent of dystopic YA fiction, as though Parker and Lenas got married at the Capitol from The Hunger Games. The only way to get closer to it would have been to hire Donald Sutherland, President Snow himself, to preside over the ceremony.
There have nonetheless been a lot of performance art projects of recent vintage that involve weddings. But usually they incorporate critiques of the wedding, and the Wedding Industrial Complex more generally. We spotted a bunch collected on this Metafilter thread, and wanted to give you a tour of some genuinely interesting art projects. All of them look like much more fun weddings to attend than Parker’s airbrush-stravanganza.
The artists Annie Sprinkle and Beth Stephens got married seven times over seven years in performance art projects, each one done in collaboration with local art institutions. This picture is from their 2009 “blue” wedding, in which they symbolically married the sea. “Each wedding is site-specific, interactive, and utilizes a different theme and color based on the seven chakra system (inspired by artist Linda Montano’s 14 Years of Living Art),” they say in their artist’s statement. “The Love Art Laboratory grew out of our response to the violence of war, the anti-gay marriage movement, and the corporate greed causing the destruction of our planet.”