Admittedly, one of our guilty indulgences is "My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding", TLC's trainwreck peepshow on the matrimonial institution that is a helluva lot more entertaining than the Kardashian porn show on the subject that brought the E! Network its best ratings ever this weekend.
Besides a certifiable affectation for the excessive, these two over-exposed entities on the topic also have in common an approach that hinges on the theater of the absurd, something more akin to performance art in terms of the process and production (or is it product?). Because of this they share a bond with the latest artwork by Bettina Hubby and her collective of artists who conjure and question the status quo under the HubbyCo. banner.
The ritual of marriage and all things tied to it—including the social, legal and financial implications—were put under the microscope for "Get Hubbied," a multimedia, multidimensional investigation and celebration. Some two dozen artists, including architect Barbara Bestor and L.A. arts patriarch Ed Ruscha, provided mind-tickling insight and stuff for the real, legal wedding held late last month at the Center for the Arts in Eagle Rock, a beautiful Mission Revival building built in 1914 as a Carnegie Library.
It was a full house for the performance-cum-nuptials on September 25, and a matter of not so much being there "for the bride" or "for the groom" as for the artist at the helm of all this production, Bettina—who has not only experienced the subject first hand as a bride. Never mind friends or extended family: among immediate kin, her sister has walked down the aisle twice and her parents four times to one another and once to others. The trio are as much Bettina's partners in art as her many artist friends who collaborated, and that day, mom, dad and sis Hubby were all there, too.
The event couldn't have fully come off without an actual bride and groom, of course, and Bec Ulrich and Ruben Diaz were the recipients of all this pomp and strange circumstance (at least, "strange" to their respective families, who clearly did not know what hit them). The pair were the winners among dozens who applied and interviewed for a chance at this unorthodox, scrutinized approach to wedlock.
The ragtag ephemera, including a video of the Big Day (and the wedding cake topper pictured above which was positioned far from the cake and in the women's bathroom; the cake itself an unexpected piece that resembled a brick, as pictured below), are now part of an exhibition that opened this weeked and is on view through November 17 at the CFAER. The items run from the silly to the sublime, and many of the ideas will undoubtedly be stolen for real weddings. A book on the entire project will be out in 2012. (It's also worth checking out Bettina's blog on the journey there and back, including short videos of the many players involved in the process.)
Whether you're a fan of marriage or not, it's worth the visit. Because—like marriage, be it your first or second or thensome—HubbyCo.'s collective project is truly a trip worth experiencing at least once.
These guerrila street ads began appearing in L.A. and N.Y.C. in late 2009, seeking couples to apply for "Get Hubbied."
Provocater or Best Wedding Planner Ever? Artist Bettina Hubby
These "cut gems" were taken off, piece by piece, by guests. Inside the red foil-lined piece was a tightly rolled scroll of the day's events.
On the shelves were old books, each one renamed with a name of a participating artist and guest.
The best book of all revealed the wedding rings "burned" right into the pages.
Each long table for the guests were covered in ephemera that was as symbolic to the ceremony as it was just plain entertaining, from a long strip of patterned paper for guests to color, to a puzzle, to a clear square with a word which we each had to say at the right moment for a collectively recited poem, to a "Get Hubbied" temporary tattoo.
A bouquet is so, well, so bourgeoise compared to a piñata of flowers!
After their "I-do's," the couple walked outside, only to be greeted by the throngs who'd ventured out to see this latest HubbyCo. production, along with their family and an old Volvo dressed up like an ice cream truck (see below). Because, what is marriage, after all, but a dependable vehicle filled with breaks offset by your favorite frozen treats?
An absolute magical moment of the afternoon when this trio sang the wedding blues (actually more of a ragtime tune), pointing out how it's legal to marry so often when you're a boy and a girl (as seen in their signs in the posters below), but not so when you're a boy and boy or a girl and a girl in love.
Writer Steffie Nelson
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