"The title of the show will be "Massachusetts Wedding Bed." The centerpiece of the show will be a queen bed that I will make entirely by hand at my house in Wellfleet, Massachusetts. Massachusetts is also the state John Kerry comes from, and the only state in the continental U.S. that allows gay marriage.
The bed is just like any other well-made bed large enough for two people to sleep in. It is made of local materials." …….." The bed has some visible flaws, just as all marriages do. I am not a perfect woodworker, but I do my best. It is a nice, sturdy, admirable bed, capable of providing a lifetime of rest and intimacy for a man and a woman or a woman and a woman or a man and a man.
Craftsmanship as politics. Craftsmanship as Intimacy. Crafstmanship as a statement of values.
There is no finish on the bed. The bed will remain unfinished until it is purchased and taken home. At that time, a clear varnish or low-lustre oil finish is recommended. The bed can also be treated with "milk paint," a rich, flat and extremely durable paint devised by the early American Shaker community. The bed dismantles into 4 basic components for easy transport in a car or up stairs.
Commerce breeds acceptance. In the early stages of any civil rights movement, protests, marches, sit-ins, speeches, demonstrations, elections, editorials, and all other forms of public advocacy play a crucial role in bringing issues to the public's attention. These are generally spawned by frustration and received with anger. No matter how well-intentioned, no amount of pleas for ethics or rights or the greater good can fully overcome that initial spirit of conflict, of resentment. After most of the high ideals and lowdown violence has run its course, however, quotidian commerce accomplishes what overt piety and aggression could not. Americans, as a majority, are against gay marriage. But an even greater majority, and one with much deeper conviction, is FOR the sale of shoes, gowns, tuxedos, rings, flowers, cakes, flatware, decorations, champagne, pajamas, hotel rooms, airline tickets, almonds, lace and candles at a profit. In the long run, the dull routine of commerce (of money exchanged for goods and services and the taxes paid on the money and the goods and services consumed) does more to persuade the American public of what is right and decent than sophisticated rhetoric ever could.
In that way, and for better and worse, Americans can be simple, almost child-like, in their behavior. Tell them to do something because it is good or right and they will refuse, simply because they have the right to. But make that same thing a part of their daily lives and they will absorb it like riding a bicycle or putting out the trash.
Hence: the Massachussetts Wedding Bed. The only bed available on the market whose very commerce is a statement of support for the right of any two adults to get married, in whatever love or expense they see fit.
On Saturday, January 22nd, 2005, from 4:00 to 5:00 pm, 48 hours after the inauguration of President Bush and one hour before the opening of the exhibition, there will be a press conference titled "Two or Three Americans Field Questions About Their Country From in Bed." During that time, members of the Dutch press and art viewing public are welcome to come to the gallery and ask the Americans any questions they wish regarding their country and their fellow citizens, their shopping habits and their marriage laws. Champagne will be served. Bed clothes are optional, although those persons wearing street shoes will be asked to either remove them or refrain from getting on the bed."
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