This Week in New York Insider's Guide to Arts & Culture in New York City Since 2001

1May/13

A MARRIAGE: 1 (SUBURBIA)

Nick Vaughan and Jake Margolin use sugar to add to a white picket fence as part of performance installation examining same-sex marriage and the America dream (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

Nick Vaughan and Jake Margolin use sugar to add to a white picket fence as part of performance installation examining same-sex marriage and the America dream (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

HERE
145 Sixth Ave. at Dominick St.
Through May 4 (Tuesday - Sunday, 8:30), $10 in advance, $20 within twenty-four hours
Installation free Tuesday - Sunday 2:00 - 10:00
212-647-0202
www.here.org
a marriage: 1 (suburbia) / sugar cube picket slideshow

American dream or suburban nightmare? Nick Vaughan and Jake Margolin, who got married in 2008, take a sharp but playful look at the institution, examining domestic bliss from the 1950s to the present in their immersive multimedia performance piece A Marriage: 1 (Suburbia). Vaughan and Margolin have transformed nearly every room at HERE into a marital landscape that includes twists on such suburban mainstays as the garden hose, the ironing board, a pair of comfy armchairs surrounding an old radio, shirts hanging on a clothesline, the Game of Life, and a white picket fence. Now that same-sex marriage is legal in so many states, is this really what gays want? “The suburban ideal, the traditional nuclear family, emerald lawns and Betty Crocker . . . is now part of our heritage as well, and for better or worse we have to deal with it,” they write at the entrance to the exhibit. “This is our attempt to unpack those structures as we continue to construct our own.” In “First Seasons,” they’ve compiled thematically linked clips of scenes from four classic family sitcoms — The Cosby Show, Roseanne, The Dick Van Dyke Show, and Leave It to Beaver — laying the groundwork for what is considered the ideal in American society. Meanwhile, in a two-channel video, Deb Margolin, Joe Stackell, Lisa Kron, Yoshiko Chuma, and Penny Arcade share their opinions on same-sex marriage, and Vaughan and Margolin read the full transcript of the Perry v. Schwarzenegger Prop 8 case into plastic bags that form a floating balloon sculpture. Each night at 8:30, Vaughan and Margolin put on a sixty-minute performance, from typing pithy sayings on wallpaper (“There is something so deep and so comfortable in this version of living”) to making a Welcome mat out of bubblegum. On April 30, they added a picket to a white fence using sugar cubes and vanilla icing, then painting one side with red food coloring, questioning the supposed sweetness of suburbia. Purchasing a ticket allows you into the performance and to return for any of the others, which continue through May 4; admission to the exhibition itself is free. Be sure to get there well before 8:30 in order to take it all in; there’s a lot to see — even in the unisex bathrooms — running the gamut from the sublime to the ridiculous, in thought-provoking and very funny ways. (To read our interview with Nick and Jake, go here.)

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