Cornelius’s performance actually began more than a month ago, when she assumed the online identity of the frazzled bride and began documenting her journey to the altar on Twitter and Tumblr. She asked for marriage proposals, posted pictures of potential dresses and updated followers about the planning process.
“Great wedding planning meeting @CorcoranDC,” she tweeted in June. “But totally bummed I can’t put bows on the lions outside #itsmyday #bridezilla.”
She also tracked her attempt to lose weight for the big day and grew out her hair so it could be pulled into an up-do. She set up a “Honey Fund” — not to pay for a tropical getaway, but to defray the cost of flowers, the DJ and the requisite pre-wedding mani/pedi. She solicited suggestions for first-dance songs, as well as appropriate breakup music.
Cornelius, who is represented by the Curator’s Office gallery, picked the first six of her temporary spouses. The seventh will be chosen by audience members in the last hour of the performance.
Though the ceremonies will be officiated by an ordained minister, they of course won’t be legal. Cornelius dodges the question of legality. “It’s as legal as it needs to be for the piece to be an art piece,” she says. “Reality requires a suspension of disbelief. So does art.”
The “Bridge” was originally constructed for Holly Bass, a local performance artist who danced for seven hours in a piece called “Moneymaker.” In March, six men led by artist Jefferson Pinder rowed themselves to exhaustion at the Corcoran. Both performances were hugely well received, says Sarah Newman, the museum’s curator of contemporary art.
“We’re making [performance art] a much bigger priority in the future, and we are going to launch a major performance series later this year,” she adds.
“Save the Date” was a natural fit for the “Take It to the Bridge” series, which coincides with the Corcoran’s Free Summer Saturdays, because it brings both gravity and humor to a subject that feels personal to almost everyone, says Blair Murphy, programming director for the Washington Project for the Arts. And it’s especially appropriate given that the Corcoran is regularly rented out for lavish weddings throughout the year.
But it also provides serious social commentary, she adds. “Marriage is meant to be the private bond between two people but then becomes this public spectacle, with the way weddings are handled now.”
Save the Date
Saturday, Aug. 11, Corcoran Gallery of Art, 500 17th St. NW. 202-639-1700, www.corcoran.edu. No admission fee on Saturdays through Sept. 1.