art projects

Gay Man Marries Straight Woman (For The Sake Of Art), And Riles Up The Crazies

Paul Cartwright, 20, and Nora Battenberg-Cartwright, 21, must think they’re sooooo clever. The fine arts majors at the University of Worcester in Britain went and got themselves married — as part of an art project. You see, Paul is a homosexual man. Nora, a heterosexual woman. See what this is TERRIBLY OFFENSIVE?!

“By marrying ourselves we were in effect marrying art,” says Nora, who is German. “If we ever decided that we got to the point where we wanted to marry another person, that would be the end of the art career, really. But neither of us can see it on the cards, both of us expect to be old and married and continuing together. The marriage is kind of the foundation of our art. We do love each other, but in a different way.” And it’s not like they’re ignorant to the perks of having a full-blown marriage that’ll never be consummated: their union is “more honest” because they can talk about their boyfriends with each other.

Naturally, their love affair — which was sealed in a Dec. 29 ceremony in Germany, where gays cannot marry – -has its critics. Like Stephen Green, the BBC’s favorite homosexuality expert: “They are denigrating the institution of marriage itself. Marriage is not an art project, it is the life-long union of man and woman and part of that is the sexual act which is there for companionship and the raising of children. At the ages of 20 and 21 you think you are invincible and think you can do anything but marriage is not just between the couple concerned, it is between them and the wider community. If their parents have gone along with this charade they are equally as guilty of denigrating the whole institution of marriage and bringing the University of Worcester into disrepute. If I was marking them I’d give them no marks – what has being married got to do with art? Marriage is under attack from homosexual and civil partnerships which are an attempt to downgrade it. It appears to be no co-incidence that the ‘husband’ is a gay man.”

For once, Mr. Green is right. It was no coincidence the husband (ooh, let’s put it in air quotes like Green, “husband”) is a gay man. Otherwise, this wouldn’t be an art project. It would just be two young people of the opposite sex entering into a legal arrangement that was likely to end in a broken home.

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  • EdWoody

    They’re not air quotes if they’re not in the air, fuckwit. They’re just quotes.

  • Raven

    This should please the crowd that kept saying that no one stops gays and lesbians from marrying as long as it’s not the same gender.

  • Jeffree

    It’s a political statement, ok, but HOW is this art?

    A wedding might be conceived as a performance art piece—big maybe—but the actual day-in day-out arrangements of marriage don’t really seem to have a lot of artistic merit, IMO.

  • Steve

    I don’t see why these anti-gay bigots are mad. Isn’t this what they wanted – gay people marrying the opposite sex?

  • Charlie

    Just because no one has mentioned it, I love her dress.

  • hf2hvit

    ANd the BRIDE looks great too!

  • John

    @Steve: Exactly. Don’t we hear even now that prohibition of same-sex marriage violates no one’s rights since, after all, gays are free to marry someone of the opposite sex just like straights are? That’s exactly what these young folks did, so what’s the “problem”?

  • Ted C.

    He’s cute. I’d marry him.

    @hf2hvit: LOL.

  • RJ


    I would say that art permeates both mentality and life. The intention in entering into this marriage is to create a living portrait with a political message. You’ll agree that art can have a political meaning. You’ll agree that there are many things that constitute art. Whether their presentation is a cyclic video of a wedding ceremony or a long-term, living example, it is artistic. They’ve simply jumped the gun and made themselves subject in their own living portrait.

    Also, if you read more carefully, you’ll see that this was a part of an art project and to symbolize them “marrying art”. My guess is that you’re correct: the ceremony itself may have been the culmination of the art project. The marriage between the two, I would suggest, is just the culmination of a political statement and a symbolic “rite of passage” they decided to take as artists.

  • Jeffree

    Thanks for your thoughtful answer to my question. I’m open to a wide variety of art and have participated in a handful of pieces of performance art [one for a friend’s MFA show] but I confess to sometimes missing out or not quite getting the overall concept of some pieces. Still learning!

    As someone who writes/ performs some stand up comedy, I love playing with some off the wall concepts or premises, so I can sure appreciate their expanding and pushing some boundaries.

    Hey, I hope they film the divorce too, if there is one :-} !

  • jimstoic

    I did the same thing in 1984. Our art project ended within a few months.

  • romeo

    That’s a woman?

  • Soupy

    My gay friend married an American girl so that he could stay in the country. She’s fine with it. She’s his best friend and she had no plans to marry anyone else. There are multiple reasons for getting married.

  • Zeus

    I just think that’s weird because they have no idea if one day they will want to marry someone else. Who knows who they will meet one day.

  • afrolito

    Dumbest art project ever, and the bride looks like a man in drag.

  • mark c

    What is Mr. Green’s opinion of Liz Taylor and her eight marriages? Let’s hear him spout off about her disrespect for the institution of marriage. When he starts to attack straight serial marriers with the same zeal, then I’ll maybe give him a listen.

  • Soupy

    Black lipstick is never a good choice.

  • Antonio

    Black lipstick, is a no no, and what’s up with her eyebrows?
    The guy is cute though.

  • testington

    I support them! Just more support for the argument against “opposite sex” marriage being a stable, traditional, respectable institution anymore. Stuff like this and Vegas weddings really show there is no valid reason to deny gay and lesbian people the right to marry based on some moral claim about the sanctity of straight marriage.

    It reminds me of when I was lobbying at the Minnesota capitol and Michelle Bachman told a gay man who questioned her on why he is denied the right to marriage. She said, “You do have the right to marry…a woman”

    I think marriage as a religious institution should be wholly separate from marriage/civil unions as a legal/political/economic institution. If religions want to put gender and sexuality discriminations into their definition of marriage they should be allowed to but the government should not.

  • Satsuma

    While I think their reasoning is a bit hazy, I’m personally all for institution degeneration.

  • Disgusted Gay American

    well Ive always said gays/lesbians should – Marry in Protest each other….have it all “planned”1st…then make is public/camerias…Marry each other….then go and get it annulled…do it over,and over and over again – just to ANNOY the Wackjob Rightwing nutjobs……

  • kayla

    This is such a joke!! LOL I can’t believe that girl and I are the same age!! It’s rather cliché and quite comical, but she reminds me of a mime I once saw near the Rue de Boulainvilliers, in Paris when I three years old! LOL!! Mon dieu, j’ai eu tellement peur de lui!! Scared the bejesus out of me, I had a crying fit that neither myself nor my mother will ever forget!!! I’m probably one, of only a few privileged tourists to ever encounter some crazy freak walking around Paris in white face, though it’s quite a Paris stereotype…LOL! Little children should not be exposed to those people, it’s rather traumatizing!! I saw some whackjob in New York City trying to mime once…I had to run the other way, It’s my great phobia! I still am terrified of those people!!! Ahhh the joys of childhood…This couple makes me feel so much more mature for my age…

  • kayla

    Je crois que j’aurais écrit “très” en lieu de “tellement”… Je suis désolée!

  • kayla

    @kayla: Sorry my French is rusty…Je crois que j’aurais dû écrire “très” en lieu de “tellement”… Je suis désolée! I finally got it right!!!

  • Jeffree

    @Kayla: I’m sort of terrified of mimes & most clowns as well. Unlike a fear of, say, elevators or birds (phobias I don’t have), it’s not a hinderance to living, so I just try focus elsewhere. I was “stalked” by a mime in Montréal for a block & a half but didn’t know it until my friends started giggling. (and “tellement” works fine in your sentence, si je ne me trompe pas)

    — — — —
    Back on topic: I know two couples who married for “convenience” so as one partner in each could get insura.nce benefits. It wasn’t an art project but it was a simple solution to a issue.

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