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I can't resist performance art!

Philippa P.B. HughesBy Philippa P.B. Hughes on Dec 10, 2012 | Add a Comment Add a Comment (336)

I can't resist performance art!

I just got back from Art Basel Miami Beach and I'm exhausted and inspired by all the art I saw and experienced. One of the art pieces I acquired was a painting inspired by a sext that I sent to artist Karen Finley in a performance art piece called "SEXT ME IF YOU CAN."

Here's how it worked:

Exhibitionist art collectors looking for portraits of their privates can discreetly send images to one of America’s most controversial and widely known artists. Karen Finley will be painting images that art fair-goers “sext” to her. This interactive painting performance will feature an on-site art studio where Ms Finley will be receiving sexted images on her cellphone from anonymous art collectors looking to transform their most private poses into commissioned fine art paintings. Visitors to the fair can privately purchase a code and phone number to sext Ms Finley at the Coagula Curatorial booth.

I love participating in art as much as I love looking at art (and I looked at a LOT of art while I was in Miami!). See here and here for past examples of me getting deep into performance art pieces, not as artist but as subject and collector. So it was a no-brainer to acquire this performance piece to add to my collection of experiences.

When I first discovered Karen, DC photographer Matt Dunn happened to be in the Coagula booth at the same time.  Suddenly, my future sext was getting lots of input from him and other bystanders. We discussed toes as being sorta sexy, especially my bright blue toenails. Karen also mentioned how much she liked my dress. These ideas became the basis for the sext.

Ok, so the image I sexted to Karen was pretty G-rated. (I'm shy!)

Some people sent much more  explicit photos of themselves. To get the whole project started, a Hustler model had sent several pictures. Karen's paintings of them were on display in the booth and they were quite different from the one I ended up with.

After I sexted, I was told to come back the next day at 2PM for the performance, in which she would make a painting inspired by my sext.

Watching someone paint is a little like watching paint dry. Not particularly exciting. But in this case, because it was inspired by something very personal, I had a little more interest in watching the process. Plus I got to ask her questions and look at all the details of her makeshift studio space. I love watching people using their hands. Karen said she decided to create something almost like a Georgia O'Keefe flower out of my legs and the fabric of the dress.  And we all know how erotic those flowers were. I like that she captured what I think is my subtle nature. She seemed very intuitive that way.

I really enjoyed this whole experience. Plus, unlike most performance art, I got to take something home with me: a new painting with a great story behind it.

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