Over the weekend the Arts Collective on campus hosted their annual Beaux Arts Ball. The only requirement: come dressed as an artist or a piece of art. My Post Studio Projects class was also in attendance, and as such it was an opportune time for us to try out some conceptual art. After some internal debate I decided to go as Yoko Ono's Cut Piece (1965). Overall it was a well received piece and very interactive, but there were distinct differences relying on multiple factors such as my gender and the environment of the art.
Yoko Ono performed Cut Piece by sitting in silence on a stage while people came up one by one to cut away from her clothes with scissors. Some snipped away buttons or small pieces of fabric, but eventually people began to take off larger sections of clothing. Everyone was generally fine with this and laughed along even as men began to cut away at her undergarments and bra (one man in particular was incredibly disgusting and clearly enjoyed doing this). It wasn't until her hair began to be cut away that people had a problem, as she became a person and not just an object of art.
Unlike Yoko Ono's piece in 1965 I was performing among friends and some strangers at a college party. Everyone was in good spirits, and some even felt too uncomfortable or worried that they would hurt me. I remained silent while they cut away and then resumed normal conversation until the next person took up the scissors. I also was not subjected to being viewed as an object in the way that women artists generally are (like Yoko Ono and Marina Abramovic). No one tried to cut away at my hair (thankfully) or underwear, and so I was eventually left dancing around in a pair of bright pink briefs and scraps of black cotton around my ankles. It was a good opportunity to see how environments affect performance piece, which will help in revising some of my projects for more public spaces (which will of course be documented). Until next time!
Open your mind, be brave, and be kind.
To See With One's Body and Soul
This blog documents all of my adventures, as well as my development into an artist, writer, and a better person.