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Gay Student Will Lose His Virginity As An Act of Performance Art

Clayton Pettet (pictured), a second year art student at Central Saint Martins art school in London, plans on losing his butt virginity in front of a gallery full of spectators on January 25, 2014. He claims it will be an act of “performance art.”

The sweeping act of teenage narcissism deflowering will be titled “Art School Stole My Virginity” and will feature 19-year-old Pettet and his friend engaging in safe sex until completion. Afterwards, they will ask the audience what they thought of the performance. Because who doesn’t like to be critiqued after sex?

“I’ve held on to my virginity for 19 years, and I’m not throwing it away lightly,” Pettet said. “Basically it’s like I am losing the stigma around virginity.”

He continued: “Since culturally we do hold quite a lot of value to the idea of virginity I have decided to use mine and the loss of it to create a piece that I think will stimulate interesting debate and questions regarding the subject.”

We suppose when we were 19 we may have thought the same thing.

Pettet says he has been planning the event for three years.

“The key thing about performance art is that it should only be performed once, and this is the ultimate once-in-a-lifetime performance,” he claims.

Pettet also says he hasn’t told his parents about the project, but he expects it will earn him rave reviews with the masses for challenging the idea of sexuality.

We’ll refrain from making too much judgement now and will instead offer Pettet this piece of advice: Do an enema beforehand so as not to turn your act of sexual defiance into an act of public humiliation.

Oh, and be sure to use lots and lots of lube.

Photo credit: Clayton Pettet.

On:           Oct 24, 2013
Tagged: , , ,
    • Joseph Izak

      The stupidest thing I have ever heard. Sex should be a private act between two loving individuals, not considered as art. I suppose he thinks pornography is art also? What a misguided fool!

      Oct 24, 2013 at 2:00 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Erik

      does not matter what the venue is, it is just a live sex show…nothing original or unique about this, but then what kind of life experience does a 19 year old art student have to realise he is not being original…if art is not original it is not art…but just a copy…

      as a side thought, how does a 19 year old art student prove his virginity, after all there is no hyman…the whole virgin twink thing has become a cliche in the community…

      Oct 24, 2013 at 2:05 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • sportsguy1983

      Another example of the cultural rot going on.

      Oct 24, 2013 at 2:14 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Erik

      @Joseph Izak: who says sex is a private act, your imposing your morality on another individual, has not the queer (Queer Nation) movement tried to stop society from imposing their sexual morals on US…of course porn can be elevated to ART…just take a look at Kenneth angers early work…this boy my be misguided…but that comes with the age…you sure just came across as the fool

      Oct 24, 2013 at 2:24 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dxley

      You’re kidding, right?

      Oct 24, 2013 at 2:30 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • nokkonwud

      good advice

      Oct 24, 2013 at 2:33 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Joe Dalmas

      This was already done a few years ago in porn by much hotter actors.

      Oct 24, 2013 at 3:03 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jwrappaport

      @Erik: Sorry kiddo, but it is you who came across as the fool. Pornography, by definition, appeals to the erotic rather than the aesthetic. What makes the depiction of a sexual act art is that it appeals primarily to the aesthetic rather than the erotic. Think Corbin Fisher versus Poussin’s Rape of the Sabine Women: both are striking depictions of sexual acts, but only one of them is a work of art. You don’t have to be an aesthetic or moral demagogue to reach this conclusion – it’s simply one of common sense.

      Pornography can be sexy, hot, and even beautiful, but it’s not art in any meaningful sense of the term. It’s possible that we have radically different definitions of what art is, in which case it would be fruitless to debate with you. It’s a waste of my urine to get into pissing contests with deconstructionists or extreme relativists.

      As for the artiste in the article, what a vulgar fraud. It really is true: every generation thinks that it’s the first to discover sex and rebellion. I would love for him to tell me what exactly he is contributing to the “debate” on virginity (indeed I did not know there was one still being waged by serious intellectuals). This is conceptual art in a nutshell: getting plowed in public and calling it a statement. Yeah, I guess it’s a statement, but it’s about an inch deep (or perhaps five or so).

      Oct 24, 2013 at 3:04 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Trodkim

      This was done already by another artist.

      Oct 24, 2013 at 3:12 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • the other Greg

      Apparently he thinks we have a “stigma around virginity” AND “hold quite a lot of value to the idea of virginity” at the same time?

      Oct 24, 2013 at 3:17 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ogre Magi

      @sportsguy1983: Don’t you have an book burning to go to?

      Oct 24, 2013 at 4:03 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Evji108

      That’s impossible, only Clayton can lose his virginity, no other artist could do lose it for him.

      Oct 24, 2013 at 4:21 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bozen

      Too much lube makes things greasy feeling and uncomfortable. I don’t know why so many people are proponents of copious amounts of lube.

      I’m more inclined towards a mixture of foreplay, lube, and SPIT.

      Also, this is stupid and so is he. The only thing in my mind comparable to going to “art school” is taking a big, expensive bag full of money and setting it on fire.

      Oct 24, 2013 at 4:56 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dixie Rect

      Just some spoiled exhibitionist trying to get some press, looks like it worked.

      Agreed, this is stupid, and so is he.

      Oct 24, 2013 at 5:21 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • BlogZilla

      Apparently most of you don’t know the definition art.

      Oct 24, 2013 at 5:23 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • respekt2006

      @the other Greg: I suppose you could argue we do value and stigmatize virginity, but that really only applies to straight women. The whole performance art thing is stupid, though.

      Oct 24, 2013 at 5:27 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cam

      So basically, he is going to do what porn stars do better.

      Oct 24, 2013 at 5:28 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • BlogZilla

      @jwrappaport: It’s you that comes across as foolish and contradictory. You admit yourself that two people having sex together or embraced sexually can appeal to the aesthetic. That qualifies as ART, you ding dong! Case in point: Herb Ritt’s book “Duo”

      Oct 24, 2013 at 5:29 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ronnie_m

      What if he finds it to be painful? It is his first time after all

      Oct 24, 2013 at 5:41 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Spike

      @ronnie_m: Because he is probably practicing with a 12×6 inch black dildo at this very moment.

      Oct 24, 2013 at 6:13 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cam


      Whether or not something qualifies as art frankly is irrelevant to whether or not it is idiotic, narcissistic, or frankly….a boring student project.

      Oct 24, 2013 at 6:36 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • boring

      Somewhere, Matthew Barney is crying.

      Oct 24, 2013 at 6:53 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • stanhope

      While I hardly think this is particularly original, it is after all his choice. It will be original for him. Whatever, I don’t think he deserves to be ridiculed or judged. Sexual democracy should be the order of the day. It seems however sad that he would take what should be a special occasion and make it a spectacle. There will plenty of opportunity ahead to be jaded.

      Oct 24, 2013 at 8:46 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • sportsguy1983

      He is allowed to do what he wants to, but when you make it public then you open youself to ridicule and judgment. He is nothing but gay male version of Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian: someone so desperate for attention and fame that they will do anything, even if it is degrating.

      Oct 24, 2013 at 8:54 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • sprocket

      Meh. This is just spectacle, not art. It’s purely visceral and nothing more. I have nothing against conceptual art. It can be intelligent and thought provoking. Ai Weiwei is a good example. But this is just attention seeking punk.

      Oct 24, 2013 at 9:59 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jared

      @Erik: Your “hymen” question is absurd… Virginity is a social construct, not a physical entity, and that’s true whether you’re male- or female-bodied. That’s the point that this artist is trying to make, regardless of how misguided his performance may or may not be.

      Oct 24, 2013 at 11:19 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jwrappaport

      @BlogZilla: I’m not sure why you think anything you said calls either my conclusions or my premises into question.

      Oct 25, 2013 at 1:08 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Captain proton

      If you look on his Tumblr, he says he never said anything about rave reviews, in fact did not speak to the Huff post which first published the story. Typical media blowing stuff out of proportion.

      Oct 25, 2013 at 1:24 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DarkZephyr

      Well, whatever else anyone might say about him, I think he is a little hottie.

      Oct 25, 2013 at 2:04 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • MK Ultra

      And Miley Cyrus’ VMA performance was art. And celebrity sex tapes are art. And faceless naked Grindr pics are art.
      Basically everything is art, but especially when it’s narcissistic and uses sex as an exploitation device… then it’s super art.

      Oct 25, 2013 at 2:10 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Captain proton

      and he has a nice ass:

      Oct 25, 2013 at 2:11 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DarkZephyr

      @Captain proton: Thanks for the link, and he sure does!

      Oct 25, 2013 at 2:29 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • gollygeegaygoy

      When Duchamp defined a urinal as art, perceptions of what is art changed. The fact that some people are disgusted, bored, or reacting at all, to this young artists work means his work is already having impact. He is a serious minded artist, not a crude exhibitionist. And when you are an artist, you define what is art.. not others.

      Oct 25, 2013 at 2:58 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • MK Ultra

      But…I’m an artist!

      Oct 25, 2013 at 3:26 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • bledoutcolor

      This cant end well. I see “regret” written all over this. Snooty “artsy” people can take it way too far sometimes. Theres are and then there is narcissism passing as art…guess what this is? But as a 20 year old who has never been so much as kissed, I kinda feel bad for the kid consdering he will probably realize it wasnt worth losing his virginity in such a meaningless way.

      Also can we please kill the term “butt virginity”? Last I checked its just “virginity”. Either you had sex with someone or you didnt, and this phrase is both gross and othering.

      Oct 25, 2013 at 4:39 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Joseph Izak

      @Erik: I agree with jwrapport! It’s you my friend who comes across as the fool!

      Oct 25, 2013 at 5:02 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Joseph Izak

      @Erik: The problem with society today is that very few poeple have any morals what-so-ever. Pornography has destroyed the morals of society. All the young immature immoral people today could use a good ass beating.

      Oct 25, 2013 at 5:08 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DarkZephyr

      @Joseph Izak: I am just a little bit curious as to what your compass is for deciding what is “moral” and what is “immoral”. See, these are words that I am not very fond of, having been told several times in the past that my being gay was “immoral” and that I need to stand up, be a man and start being “moral”. In high school I was attacked and stabbed and throttled by a gang of my fellow students because I was gay and they felt like they were on the moral high ground. So, I am very curious to know what YOUR personal compass is to declare what is moral and immoral. Thanks in advance.


      Oct 25, 2013 at 6:30 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DarkZephyr

      @Joseph Izak: P.S. and the kids who attacked me and choked me til my world went black while they inserted pins into my flesh figured that I needed a “good ass beating” as their justification for what they did. So I am MIGHTY curious to hear what you have to say.

      Oct 25, 2013 at 6:32 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • seaguy

      glorified porn star performance is all it will end up being.

      Oct 25, 2013 at 6:52 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dxley

      I wonder who’ll pitch up just to see a gay boy getting fucked all in the name of “art”. How laughable!!! Remaining a virgin ’til 19 is not an achievement just as losing it before 19 isn’t one either. I think he’s on weed! What an idiot! Another gay boy using his gayness to gain popularity – stupid!

      Oct 25, 2013 at 7:04 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DarkZephyr

      @Dxley: I give him a pass because he’s hot.

      Oct 25, 2013 at 7:15 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Lawerence

      He’s held onto his virginity for 19 years? Um? He’s only 19! To each their own I suppose. Perception is reality! To me it would be something if he were 40.

      Oct 25, 2013 at 8:09 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Lawerence

      Reading all the comments reminded me of an episode of Designing Women, where Julia sets her purse down and pretentious rich woman buys it for thousands of dollars. Like I said in my previous post, everything is really just perception.

      Oct 25, 2013 at 8:19 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • sfqtcguy

      @jwrappaport: Clearly you are educated. What baffles me is how you can possibly judge a piece of performance art before it is performed? Would you also say that Tantric sex is not religious or spiritual because it includes perhaps an act of penetration? What would you have said about Robert Mapplethorpe if he announced he were to do a photo series of gay sex acts. Would you condemn that as non-art, sight unseen? Let’s see the performance, then pass judgement.

      Oct 25, 2013 at 8:50 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cam

      I think the issue is, why is what he is doing any different than what they are doing in a Tijuana sex show?

      As for being original?….No, it sounds like he just read a copy of “Memoirs of a Geisha” and downloaded a copy of “Pretty Baby”, they both have sections about auctioning off or displaying the loss of virginity.

      So yes, his idea is so unoriginal that it actually was a plotline in a Brook Shields movie.

      Oct 25, 2013 at 8:55 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Teleny

      This kid is stupid.

      Oct 25, 2013 at 9:00 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jwrappaport

      @sfqtcguy: I’m not sure what the Tantric sex analogy has to do with my argument. Things can be erotic and aesthetic, I was distinguishing between the pornographic and the artistic – their primary appeals are simply different. I’m simply saying that the boy’s statement, novel as it might be (though I doubt it), is superficial and unworthy of serious consideration. I’ve been in his, erm, position, many times, and I am unsure of what exactly he’ll be illuminating for us.

      @gollygeegaygoy: Attaching an “ism” to a piece’s “concept” is akin to dressing feces in a silk stocking. Like Dadaism, this is a fraud and isn’t serious art. The idea of challenging us to define what art is isn’t a challenge anymore, it’s called shock value, and it’s been tried for thousands of years. The curators of major museums and the PhDs in art history from Yale will disagree, and I will continue to call BS.

      Oct 25, 2013 at 9:19 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • LillianWoods

      Brooklyn recently got an almost new red Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG just by some part time working online with a lap-top… look at this now>>> smal.ly/3vwDi

      Oct 25, 2013 at 9:24 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • the other Greg

      @Lawerence: “He’s held onto his virginity for 19 years? Um? He’s only 19! To each their own I suppose. Perception is reality! To me it would be something if he were 40.”

      That’s actually reassuring I guess. I’ve always found it disturbing that so many 40-year-old virgins post here on Queerty, but maybe they’re artists?

      Oct 25, 2013 at 9:31 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • tazz602

      I think the point of his piece is lost here, remember who his audience is. It’s not the bathroom of the Eagle, it’s his fellow students and instructor(s) in an environment that is not sexually charged. Beauty, art and yes, sex are in the eye of the beholder. For those who say sex is not art, how many people bought and displayed Madonna’s “Sex” and considered it as art versus pornography despite the critics who said otherwise. How many people find art and beauty in the naked male form in photography books, while others see images to ogle and masturbate over. For an art student, yes, it is a bit derivative, but also daring and exposes himself to a degree more than any art form can do at his age.

      Oct 25, 2013 at 9:35 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • sfqtcguy

      @jwrappaport: Let’s also not forget that the kid is a student, and thereby exploring his own aesthetic. Whether it ends up being a cheap trick or real art has more to do with his intentions as an artist (and I do not consider shock an invalid intention). Perhaps he won’t even know until AFTER the performance whether even he thinks it’s art, or just prettied up porn. His concept may not be all that original, but what is eventually revealed cannot be determined at this point based on what has been said. His little trailer video is not bad (though the typography is out of place). Unfortunately, you sound like an academic out of the late 19th century when modern artists were challenging views like yours. Dadaism represented the same shift of thinking for contemporary artists. Rigidity like yours is the enemy of metamorphosis in art. Even if his project is unsuccessful, it will be an important step in his process of becoming an artist and formative for him, the artist. Without artists, there is no art, and who is to say when an artists becomes an artist, at the point of intention, at the point of successful execution, or when someone like you says so.

      @gollygeegayboy: I tend to subscribe to your way of thinking. I like art for people who do not necessarily study art. Dadaism is at the foundation of an amazing period of art in the 20th century. What I hope we are seeing is the forging of a new successful artist.

      His photo is aesthetic and the video is also somewhat aesthetic. One might expect the performance to also be aesthetic and highly erotic as well!

      Oct 25, 2013 at 10:21 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • GlitterKidder

      Copy cat! It’s been done… I lost mine in a donut shop window in 1980. Where do you think the term “Lard Lad” came from. Try again…

      Oct 25, 2013 at 10:29 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • gollygeegaygoy

      @jwrappaport You do not define what is art. The artist defines what is art. You can be a critic. Or, even better, say; ‘I hate the modern art world, I am going to become an artist and do better and more inspiring work.’ And then do it. Other than that, what this dedicated young man is doing is art. As when Tracey Emin says her unmade bed is art..it is art. Or as when Gilbert and George photograph their naked bodies and call it art… it is art. Because their devotion, vocation and passion is their creative work. Artists make art, pornographers make porn.

      Oct 25, 2013 at 10:41 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • sfqtcguy

      Here is his Pettit’s tumblr page for more info on his concept.


      Again, I agree with @gollygeegayboy

      Oct 25, 2013 at 10:48 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • the other Greg

      @gollygeegaygoy: Thanks for that! I was going to vacuum the living room on my day off, but I’ve decided not to ruin the art.

      Oct 25, 2013 at 11:14 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DistingueTraces

      “Son, I’m happy to continue supporting you and paying your tuition – at this affordable trades school, where you can learn to be an electrician or perhaps a phlebotomist. Art school though, not so much.

      Of course, you are free to continue having sex and seeking attention on your own time and on your own shilling.”

      – Dad

      Oct 25, 2013 at 11:14 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • doug105

      @Captain proton: Sadly A R T S C H O O L S T O L E M Y V I R G I N I T Y” was deleted at 11:10:53 Fri Oct 25, 2013.

      Oct 25, 2013 at 11:21 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • gollygeegaygoy

      Thanks for the link.

      @the other Greg:
      Cheap comment.

      Oct 25, 2013 at 11:26 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Rad

      I keep going back to Joe D’ellesandro and Andy Warhol. The difference was, Andy was an established artist before he did “Blow Job”. It was a performance piece that took his craft into a new direction. He did not start out there.

      This kids drive only indicates he has a limited and immature vision and his mentors and instructors are unable to guide him to something higher. For him, at this time in his life he feels THIS is it, THIS is THE MOST IMPORTANT THING for him to do. And something that he feels the PUBLIC needs to see. This is the center of his world, the center of his thought universe. No idea of the consequence; if this might be a future career limiting move (much like getting a whole-face tattoo at age 16).

      All I can think of is; what a waste.

      Oct 25, 2013 at 12:00 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dxley

      What an idiot!!! This boy is stupid. Art? I just don’t know what kind of an idiot comes up with crap like this and calls it “art”. I know a guy, a very hot gay guy who’s had boyfriends since he was 14 but only lost his virginity at 21. I never saw him calling a crowd to see him getting fucked by his boyfriend. This boy needs to have his screws tightened. What a dumb-ass idea. How f*cked up!!!

      Oct 25, 2013 at 12:46 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • tonykeywest

      this is not art. it is prurient obscenity masquerading as art.

      Oct 25, 2013 at 1:12 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DistingueTraces

      Yes, Marcel Duchamp did change perceptions of what art could be.


      Yes, Andy Warhol and many other artists have taken the simple observation of gay sexual acts as their subject matter and medium.


      Of course, not all art needs to be original. But when an attempt at provocation is as trite and obvious as this one, some level of craftsmanship is needed to make an old idea fresh again.

      Oct 25, 2013 at 2:10 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Niall

      @Captain proton: Awww the video has been removed :(

      Oct 25, 2013 at 2:11 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • stfallon1028

      This is unacceptable.

      Oct 25, 2013 at 5:03 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • MK Ultra

      I’ve made many comments on this site. They are all provocative and thought-provoking, deep and intense art.

      Oct 25, 2013 at 10:27 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • sfqtcguy

      @Dxley: Get a life.

      Oct 26, 2013 at 3:58 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Zodinsbrother

      I am an Art graduate and spent some time at St Martins, although I wasn’t a full time student there.

      What I will say is that a lot of the students at these kind of places are not just finding themselves as people but finding themselves as artists. So sometimes they will go down blind alleys.

      Personally, I think the human race is far too hung up about sex and nudity. It is as much a part of life as eating and sleeping. And as long as it is between consenting adults then it is a very good part of life and this assumption that this good part of life is in some way shameful is an unhealthy and mentally diseased part of our culture.

      That said, having been a student there and worked with other students, the sad fact is that about 80% of what artists and students come up with to rationalise what they are doing is crap. There are some very talented and committed people in the art world but there are also a lot of talented charlatans who come up with bull and smother it in feeble justifications to explain why after six months work all they have produces is a stained T-Shirt.

      When people do sexual “instillations” the reality is they are often just exhibitionists using the art platform to resource their sexual fantasy. If they were more open about that then I think what they were doing would actually be closer to art than doing it with pathetic and transparent justifications.

      Oct 26, 2013 at 4:06 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Anders Bergkvist

      Extremely interesting art and yes it is art at its best. Why? because it is raising and approaching a question with so many tabus and stigma – the comments in the thread just shows that.
      As to sex and intimacy between people – well there are worse things going on every second around the world both among the hetro-, homo-, bi-, transgender- etc etc world/communities.
      We could all care for and comment on this young man but how often do we not just look the other way in situations worse than this. This is a young man who knows what he is doing, who approaching cultural stigmas that has been reproduced through generations without anyone being able to look sober upon them as phenomenas – virginity, sexual orientation, seclusiveness of intimacy between two persons, love vs sex, before and after, manhood rites, stigmatization of women and men – gay men, etc
      He has actually already made art and a performance by posting his plan. You and I are all part of that art performance and we -the world thereby becomes a bit wiser.
      Clayton Pettet has my respect and I will not judge him for what he sacrifice for his art, an art that makes an imprint on all of us. How many discussions will follow around the dinner tables, in pubs, at coffee break at work and hopefully they all will touch the subject of virginity, man and women virginity etc.

      Oct 26, 2013 at 4:58 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dxley

      We were driving in the countryside and the car has mud all over but I told my boyfriend not to wash it. I don’t want to ruin the art!!!

      Oct 26, 2013 at 5:39 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jwrappaport

      @gollygeegaygoy: I can’t define art? Sure I can – I don’t need your permission. We all define art for ourselves, and it is clear you and I have vastly different definitions. I’m not interested in gimmicks or the constant, desperate attempts by artists (composers too) to challenge our conceptions of beauty and indeed what the very definitions of art are. It’s been done, and Dadaism is over as John Cage is dead. I can’t tell you how many premieres I’ve attended where the featured composer writes solely to challenge the audience or make some other similarly vacuous statement. What followed the pretentious program notes was almost, without exception, a hideous, boring piece of music by someone enthralled by the fashionable conformity of nonconformity.

      For me, I don’t listen to music because I need help defining what it is. I don’t listen to it to be shocked. And I certainly don’t listen to it because it makes a concrete statement that can be better and more easily said in words. Music, like all the arts, has an infinite capacity to uplift us and make the human condition bearable and even beautiful. I listen too because it allows me to feel connected to people in what I think is an incredibly isolated and impersonal world. To me, that’s what art is. I don’t know what it is to you. I suspect it’s something rather more like a diversion or some ordinary form of entertainment.

      Oct 26, 2013 at 10:36 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jwrappaport

      @sfqtcguy: If I’m a 19th century Philistine, then you’re the goth in high school who refuses to conform, yet speaks, acts, and dresses in the ways of your entire group. (Or perhaps more fitting – you are akin to the naked man who boasts of his expensive new suit. Just like the emperor’s new clothes, money and public fawning do not an artist make.) I’m not prepared to define when someone becomes an artist, but that’s not really the question. The issue is what art is. I accept that we all define it differently, but I am not prepared to say that it has no definition at all or indeed that it is whatever the creator says it is.

      I think we can fairly start with the word “art” itself, which is from the Latin ars, meaning a skill learned from practice. There’s no question that skill doesn’t by itself make an artist, but it is a necessary component. Part of the fun for me of art museums is seeing things whose execution I cannot even conceptualize – indeed, part of the fun is having my conceptions challenged. There was a great Degas exhibit in DC last year, and it was truly phenomenal. The idea of capturing movement itself in a two-dimensional representation is still revolutionary, and it blew me away. The Impressionists share the same confounding and even transgressive quality of forcing us to confront the world in a completely different way – but without ever sacrificing form to expression.

      You’re totally welcome to your rather more expansive definition of art. It’s certainly more fashionable now, and who knows – maybe it’ll reign in another 100 years. But I don’t buy it. Contemporary art (and contemporary classical music) is so concerned with making statements and breaking barriers that no one seems to care about the actual craft anymore. Sadly, the statements are usually truisms, and the barriers are usually uncontroversial (or simply non-existent).

      Oct 26, 2013 at 10:58 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cam

      Once again, this has been done multiple times before, and by people as well known as Warhol. It was also referenced in Memoirs of a Geisha, Pretty Baby etc…

      The thing that should be embarrassing for the school is that they apparently don’t teach enough art history for this kid to realize just how derivative his project is.

      Oct 26, 2013 at 12:49 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • the other Greg

      @gollygeegaygoy: “Cheap comment.”

      It’s funny – artists take so much pride in “shocking” the public, and talk endlessly about the shock factor. Apparently shock is the main point or maybe the whole point, since about 1913 anyway. But the moment they encounter ridicule (or worse, indifference) instead of shock, they turn into over-sensitive, whiny crybabies. Anyone who intends to shock, really should develop a thicker skin!

      Oct 26, 2013 at 3:01 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ChadDarnell

      I was unaware virginity was a stigma. Please tell me we’re not going to have to have marches and photo shoots for this.

      Oct 26, 2013 at 4:09 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Anders Bergkvist

      @the other Greg: If you think that a young man is giving himself away for a cheep effect I think you have missed that we are living in an era with news selling out murder, rape, genocide and pure evil as entertainment. What this young man, from my perspective – and being from Sweden we are not easily shocked – is trying to do is to raise attention to a bigotry based on cultural projections as to gender, childhood vs adulthood, privacy vs sexuality, I as being me and you inflicting upon me with your phobic perception of him (in this case) and thereby me and you and everyone else.

      Oct 26, 2013 at 5:06 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • bevinann

      @jwrappaport: wOW. YOU ARE LIKE, SOOO SMARRT!

      Oct 26, 2013 at 7:02 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • gollygeegaygoy


      You do not define what is art. You are a critic of art, not a definer of it. If we have to come to you for our definition of what is art, we would also have to go to the idiot who walks up to the Mona Lisa and says, ‘that’s not art, my five year old can do that’. When an artist calls his work art, it is art. It is not anyone’s unmade bed that is art, it is Tracey Emin’s unmade bed that is art, because she is an artist.

      @the other Greg:

      No one is whining, except the people who dislike or are offended about this art project.. many of them taking a strong moral disapproval to something they have had a sudden guttural reaction to. I also do not see people really indifferent in their reactions. And ridicule is cheap.

      I would also add, I am not in any way connected with this art project, but seem to be a lone defender of it. But to those critics of this, I would ask, do you support catholic, right wing activist Bill Donohue’s reactions to the Serranos’ Piss Christ… should that work have been banned, as he campaigned for ? Should his response to it: ‘Feces Obama’, be considered ‘art’ ?

      Oct 26, 2013 at 7:53 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jwrappaport

      @gollygeegaygoy: You beg the question: what is an artist? For that matter, who decides that? Unless this is Stalinist Russia, it was my understanding that we all get to decide what art is and what it isn’t, and that includes you and me. Does the fact that I’ve been a cellist since I was four years old mean that I get to tell non-musicians what the nature of music is and how they should listen to Debussy instead of Deadmau5? I don’t think it does. They have every right to love what they love and make their own cases – and I’m happy to take them on if I disagree. I don’t think there’s a definitive answer to the question as to the nature of art (and the debate has been going on for at least two millennia), but like most controversies, there are better arguments than others. Yours, I’m sorry to have to say, doesn’t seem especially well thought out to me, though I admit it’d be easier verbally and over a beer.

      The people complaining about this “project” are almost certainly not offended by the actual act – indeed I’d have to be fairly offended by myself and many gentleman friends of mine were that so. The reason many of us (at least me) complain is because art means something very special to us and we take it seriously. We have sacrificed many years perfecting our craft and actually care about things like skill, execution, and beauty. What is annoying about this piece and so much contemporary art is that it very self-consciously rejects those qualities. As I said above, much contemporary art seems to be about one of two things: (1) making longwinded cultural pronouncements that are little more than truisms about the world, or (2) pretentious claims that we, the unwashed masses, need to be shocked out of our childish preconceptions of art.

      I’m calling BS. Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think this guy could hack it in the time-honored tradition of the fine arts, which is why I suspect he’s choosing something that has nothing whatever to do with them.

      Oct 26, 2013 at 10:22 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jwrappaport

      @gollygeegaygoy: Your claims of censorship are a red herring. No one is saying that this piece, Piss Christ, or any creation should be censored. (Quite the contrary, I would be most interested in viewing this piece myself…) We’re saying that it, like Piss Christ, is a vulgar fraud that is devoid of serious cultural value. That doesn’t at all mean that you can’t like it, love it, display it, talk about it, or see it – or that we won’t defend vigorously your rights to do any and all of those things.

      Piss Christ is a great example of my first category of contemporary art: little more than a truism about the world (in that case, the commercialization of Christian icons). Yeah, it’s a true statement and a shocking piece without question, but it’s about an inch deep.

      Oct 26, 2013 at 10:33 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • MinnieCopas

      as Clarence replied I am alarmed that a student able to make($)8920 in a few weeks on the internet. look at this now,,, http://smal.ly/4WYqe

      Oct 27, 2013 at 9:05 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • the other Greg

      @jwrappaport: You’re right: who’s an artist? Yes, maybe art is whatever the artist says is art. But can’t anyone declare that he/she is an artist? I wasn’t aware that we had a mandarin class of card-carrying, certified (board-certified? state-certified?) Artists.

      The “Piss Christ” controversy was quite awhile ago, early ’90s, but as you probably know – and gollygee is being deliberately misleading about – it was never a question of “censorship” per se. The controversy was about its creation being tax-supported. And in New York, its being displayed in a city-owned museum.

      At any rate, even that degree of controversy fizzled out. God didn’t smite the city, or any other museums, for the supposedly blasphemous displays, and Serrano wasn’t forced to return his grant from the National Endowment for… Otherwise Unemployable Artists or whatever the hell it is. In the end, NOTHING HAPPENED.

      And this is the first I’ve heard of Serrano’s “Feces Obama,” but he surely didn’t need tax money to create that. The Koch brothers, Donald Trump, or some other right-wing plutocrat would pay well to put it in one of the privately-owned museums.

      If any brave artist really wants to SHOCK, the last taboo would seem to be “Feces Koran”?

      Oct 27, 2013 at 11:20 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Barrows91

      Art debates aside, who in the world would go to this performance art piece? And not only that but stick around to ask questions about it?

      What kind of questions would you ask?

      Oct 27, 2013 at 10:06 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • sprocket

      What I find sad is this art STUDENT is getting more attention than a great many talented artists who are fighting over the crust of bread that is art grants and gallery patrons.

      The media isn’t interested in anything that can’t be reduced to a headline or sound bite.

      Oct 30, 2013 at 12:25 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • manonyme

      i think i need a clarification bc when i lived in NY i thought performance art was a distinct, codified aspect of the art world. . .as a prof ballet dancer, i know performance and have been to many of the world’s famous museums which introduced me to l’art…but the recent spate of these shows,(?) (gaga and the weird lady with the milk)i’m beginning to see tht it’s just a catch-all buzzword. it connotes that,Bi***es, I’m gon do whateva I WANT! …(subtext: please like it and think i’m cooool)

      Oct 31, 2013 at 9:20 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • drivendervish

      I am not foolish enough to get involved in this argument about whether sex is art but one thing I do know is that if he really is a virgin there will be nothing pretty or artful about his first performance.

      Jan 27, 2014 at 5:44 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • drivendervish


      I don’t know all of the rules of performance art but it seems to me that practicing with a 12 x 6 dildo is cheating.

      Jan 27, 2014 at 5:46 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • barkomatic

      So much nasty judgement. If this type of art isn’t your thing then don’t watch it. Stop trying to project your own shame onto others. I’m not directly responding to any particular post btw.

      Jan 28, 2014 at 4:43 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Respect4all

      A little judgmental, aren’t we? The kid’s 19. Give him a break. He’s not hurting anyone.

      Feb 27, 2014 at 11:00 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Phelps

      I’ve heard of Puritanism, but in most of the above remarks it seems to have run riot !!!

      Mar 7, 2014 at 10:03 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • colin4

      Doin it in the name of Art…sure
      But do practice or sth before unless ur whole project will ruin buddy

      Apr 12, 2014 at 5:41 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • WPalmer

      @Bozen: To each his own.

      Aug 16, 2014 at 2:46 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • WPalmer

      Is he going to spread cheeks and show his class mates ALL of him? That might be art.

      Aug 16, 2014 at 2:53 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cee

      I can appreciate this form of art or whatever you want to call it.
      The first time usually sucks. I haven’t met anyone who said their first time was great. If he has the balls (literally and figuratively) to do this then more power to him. Even if it sucks he’ll have a good story to tell.

      Aug 17, 2014 at 3:20 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • bambamboom777

      @gollygeegaygoy: I agree totally. It is the context that makes this art. Whether or not it is good art or bad art is a different subject, but it definitely is art. And the fact that people that people are making these comments further distinguishes this as art. If it were just porn, people would just be saying “that’s hot” or “that’s not hot”. The intent of the artist is what makes it art. It’s a nuance that a lot of people don’t understand, but performance art has never been a popular mass media, another reason why it is art and not just entertainment.

      That doesn’t mean that some or perhaps even most of those who will go to see this aren’t going there for titillation or prurient interests, but even that fact is part of the conversation and how they perceive the actual performance is another element of the art. Not all art is pretty landscapes which go well with color schemes.

      Also, those who say doing this will demean what should be a special event. Ha, most people lose their virginity drunk in the back of a car or in the school bathroom or with some stranger trying to poppers on you or worse. Few people lose their virginity in a bed of roses with harp music playing in the background. I think that’s part of his point. But also, losing your virginity in this way, well isn’t that making it a special event.

      People get so nervous when sex is taken out of the normal paradigm. Even people who have been judged by others will pass judgment on what they don’t understand. I find it actually thought-provoking just the concept and the comments here without even having to see it.

      Oct 16, 2014 at 2:24 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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