Rape

Emma Sulkowicz Hopes Maybe a Museum Will Buy Her Mattress

What does her art represent?

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Mattress
Columbia Spectator

Now that she has graduated, Emma Sulkowicz is no longer bound by her promise to carry her mattress with her to class. The symbol of her protest against Paul Nungesser now sits in her parents' living room, according to Vulture.

What's next for the mattress? Sulkowicz hopes a museum might buy it from her:

She herself told the Times on Class Day: "If some sort of museum wants to buy it, then I'm open to that. But I'm not going to just throw it away."

Hers would not be the first mattress to take up residence in an art museum, according to Vulture:

Many have noted that Mattress Performance resonates with historically weighty works by Vito Acconci, Tehching Hsieh, and Marina Abramovic. And these days, props from performances by Acconci, Hsieh, and Abramovic are displayed in museums and, in some cases, sold in galleries.

Whatever its fate in art or social history, Mattress Performance could well live on in objecthood. But would a museum or gallery want it? On the phone from California, where she is visiting a friend in Laguna Beach post-graduation and luxuriating in the distance from the 50-pound mattress she hauled around daily since September, Sulkowicz says no one has approached her about the prospect yet. But the question is in the ether.

"I can definitely imagine it having a future," says Catherine Morris, curator of the Brooklyn Museum's Sackler Center for Feminist Art. "What makes her work interesting and viable for the long term is its immediacy, but also, I think, her ability to understand how her work works within the context of art history."

Art is open to interpretation. What this mattress represents—perseverance in the wake of sexual violence, or calculated harassment—is also open to interpretation, I suppose, depending upon whether one finds Sulkowicz's account more credible, or Nungesser's.

Sulkowicz wants us to see the mattress as a piece of art. But really, it's a piece of evidence in an alleged crime—a crime of which Nungesser was cleared. As I've written previously, I can't say for certain that he is innocent—although recent developments point in that direction—but it seems strange to keep praising Sulkowicz's antics as if her heroism is beyond doubt.

If a museum does buy her mattress, I hope the exhibit is a testament to the imperfections of the campus rape adjudication process, or perhaps a meditation on whether we can ever know for certain whether justice was done.

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  1. What was her degree again? Was it something marketable or will she be sleeping on that mattress in her parents’ house for years to come?

    1. Victimology

    2. Does it really matter? Either she’s going to work for a non-profit, she’ll work in the Hillary Clinton administration, or she’ll be a writer for Salon or Jezebel.

      1. Pretty sure Salon and Jezebel, strictly speaking, qualify as ‘non-profits’

        1. Touche.

          (when I tried to write that word correctly, with the accent on the “e”, the system did not allow me to post the reply, giving the following message:

          Your comment does not appear to be written in an English script. Please comment in English.

          I consider this a microagression, Reason. Expect to be reported!)

          1. Touch?.

            Works for me.

            1. Then this is even worse of a microagression. I demand recompense, Reason!

          2. John’s posts get through… huh.

          3. Try using an HTML entity: é =

    3. I’m kinda surprised her parents let it, or her in the house at all. Of course they’re probably fuck sticks too.

      1. Both parents are psychiatrists. Make of that what you will.

        1. *shudder*

          She must be all kinds of fucked up.

      2. Of course they’re probably fuck sticks too.

        Her dad has made a metric fuckton of money by basically being a glorified spiritual advisor to stressed out CEOs.

        1. Are metric fucktons larger or smaller than customary fucktons?

          Are troy fucktons larger or smaller than avoirdupois fucktons?

          1. Imperial fucktonnes or GTFO.

    4. Wiki says “[a]fter planning to major in mechanical physics, she chose visual arts instead”.

      The “Carry That Weight” project was part of her thesis/senior project, IIRC.

  2. Many have noted that Mattress Performance resonates with historically weighty works by Vito Acconci, Tehching Hsieh, and Marina Abramovic. And these days, props from performances by Acconci, Hsieh, and Abramovic are displayed in museums and, in some cases, sold in galleries.

    I don’t even…

    1. Ugh, Hello!? *Historically Weighty*. Your dismissal is symptomatic of the patriarchy inherent in how we think about Art. And Mattresses.

      1. Mattresses do tend to be heavy.

        1. Was it a real mattress or a foam core thingy? Because had it been a real mattress she’d have had to employ members of the rugby team to carry it around for her.

          1. 50 lb, per Wiki

          2. Not to mention all the added weight from all the santorum on it.

  3. Why in the world would anyone voluntarily enter into a contract with her? Knowing that she will say anything to smear someone who she perceives to have slighted her, it seems like a bad idea to do business with her.

    1. If your business is activism, maybe.

    2. I’m trying to imagine the conversation I would have with my compatriots over in HR if she applied for a job.

      HR friend: “So, we’ve got this resume from Emma Sulkowicz and – ”

      Me: “Let me give you the most succinct legal advice ever. Fuck. No.”

      1. Fuck. No.

        Microaggression!

        1. He didn’t say But. Fuck. No.

          1. *polite applause*

      2. “My advice is this: If you hire her, your body will never be found. Your family will be driven from your house, which will be razed and the building site salted. Your name will be stricken from company records, and none shall know you.

        Clear enough?”

    3. You don’t fuck crazy and you DO NOT enter into a business arrangement with crazy.

      My first director was nuts. She would openly express wanting to do a porno. I fired her before we ever opened. But boy oh boy the drama.

      1. What’s wrong with a director wanting to do a porno?

        1. As long as everyone’s wearing goggles, I see no issue

        2. Maybe you’re new around here but I own a daycare.

          Any other questions?

          1. Kiddy pr0n. OK, and…..??

            1. DO NOT page Old Man

          2. Oh.

            Sorry, I occasionally work in independent film. You said “director”, and I thought… y’know… “film director”.

            I see the issue now, yeah. :-/

            1. Ha.

              Could you imagine a parent finding her on the Internet?

              CALM DOWN ALAMANIAN.

              1. *lost in pr0n on the web*

              2. That does sound rather poor for business. Or staying out of jail.

    4. I hope she doesn’t ever want to buy a cake from my bakery…

    5. I sense an employment discrimination lawsuit coming to anyone who turns her down

      1. Anybody who’s smart won’t even interview her.

  4. now sits in her parents’ living room, according to Vulture.

    There’s a joke here… I just know it.

    1. Don’t the parents have a garage or cabin outside or something? The living room? They have to stare at a disgusting, dirty (I assume metaphorically and literally) a mattress where butt sex happened?

      1. If her parents had the sense God gave a turnip, they would have spanked her more often, and she wouldn’t be the completely egocentric, neurotic little twit she is today.

  5. Did she steal that mattress from the school?

    1. That’s what I want to know as well.

      1. I don’t have the receipts but there’s plenty of artsy reviews and sympathetic journalism that refers to it as ‘identical’.

        I’d guess purchased.

        1. The last graf of the Vulture story explains that she bought it online.

          1. The mattress or the story?

          2. So it wasn’t even the mattress the alleged rape took place on. What a gip!

            1. Makes total sense. A fake mattress for a fake rape.

              1. “This is the mattress that the rape that didn’t happen, didn’t happen on.”

                1. I laughed

          3. Probably the lightest one should find?

            Air mattress?

            1. Wiki says it’s 50 lb.

  6. She herself told the Times on Class Day: “If some sort of museum wants to buy it, then I’m open to that. But I’m not going to just throw it away.”

    So can we now dispense with the notion that there was no profit motive in her accusation?

  7. “What makes her work interesting and viable for the long term is its immediacy, but also, I think, her ability to understand how her work works within the context of art history.””

    Gag. Gag me NOW!

    1. It’s not nearly as bad if you use Bronson Pinchot’s voice and then supplement it with: “Would you like an espresso? I make it with a little lemon twist! It’s good! You should try it.”

      1. “If it’s no trouble….”

        “Don’t be stuuuuupid!”

      2. Best scene in the whole movie!

        ‘Get the fuck outta here!’

        1. I’m long overdue to watch that movie again.

          “Just tell Victor Maitlin to get himself to a clinic before pieces start falling off of the man!”

    2. “”What makes her work…..viable for the long term is its immediacy”

      That makes sense.

      The Timeless is Ephemeral

  8. Has she approached Serta?

    1. Her sleep number is a million.

      1. Her kind won’t be happy until they hit 6 million + 1.

        Eggs and omelets and all.

    2. They make the “Perfect Sleeper”, not the “Perfect Nutcase”

  9. The Salvation Army wouldn’t touch it; a museum is her only hope.

    1. Maybe an mission sheltering homeless people would take it?

      Heck, Canada has a shortage of hospital beds.

      What’s her number?

        1. What area code?

          ‘a mission’. Ugh.

  10. But really, it’s a piece of evidence in an alleged crime?a crime of which Nungesser was cleared.

    My understanding is that it is, in fact, not the mattress, just an artistic/symbolic representation thereof.

    Less evidence or art and more… snake oil?

    1. Ceci n’est pas la mattress.

  11. “What makes her work interesting and viable for the long term is its immediacy, but also, I think, her ability to understand how her work works within the context of art history.”

    And you guys are worried whether or not someone will buy the mattress? Jesus, people just plopped down 90K for random instagram printouts.

    She will not only get someone to buy the mattress but her job as chief victimologist at say, “the Brooklyn Museum’s Sackler Center for Feminist Art” or somewhere else similar is virtually assured.

    She is going to ride this scam all the way to a six figure salary. This shit pays, yo.

  12. Buy it; desecrate it.

    1. If I was rich I’d totally buy it, have one of those “Pretty Little Liars” posters painted on it, and display it that way.

      1. I’d hire a sulkowicz look-alike to perform in some home-made videos on that mattress, put them all over the internet.

  13. I’m sure she’s applying for jobs at ‘wymyns’ non-profits (nach).
    One will hire and use her to be a prop and make copies.
    I expect that we’ll hear about her in a year or two when she sues them – for raping her or something.

  14. Another opportunity to post the link to her successor, both spiritually and in the fact that he accused nungesser as well. Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you: negratude.

    For my Visual Arts Senior Thesis I will use a meditative dance practice that harnesses kinetic energy within my body as an embodied metaphor for the evasion of structural and interpersonal violence, and as an incipient expression of black, trans/feminine and queer identity and resistance. As a literal expression of my right to both occupy and negotiate discursive and physical space both on campus and in the United States more broadly, the dance will center black, trans-feminine and queer experience within the national discourse surrounding sexual violence and racist brutality, and challenge the audience to redefine our collective understanding of anti-blackness and trans/femininity’s integral relationship to rape and mass incarceration.

    1. I have the strongest urge to shoot the person who said that right, smack dab in the middle of the forehead…

      1. But wait until you see the dance. It’s sure to be transformative. Just click the link. Go ahead, we’ll wait.

        1. you,,,,,monster!

        2. Poetic justice would be for that thing to be brought up on university charges for the gunshot routine at the end of the…”performance.”

          1. Holy crap. You watched it all the way through? I never got past the first 7 or 8 seconds.

            1. AND I BLAME YOU FOR IT.

              No, seriously, scroll to the very end. It literally does the same gun pointy thing that gets 8 year-olds expelled from elementary school and then the music goes to a gunshot effect.

              1. Well, it wasn’t a Pop-Tart, so no harm, no foul I guess. The thing I wondered about is why it was done in whiteface.

        3. It’s like a monkey trying to fuck a jug of icewater……oops, is that lacist?

        4. It’s a mime humping the air and intermittently doing the robot.

    2. Two things I never could understand. 1) Dance. I’m glad my daughter no longer expresses interest in it because those galas were just too damn long and 2) Singing humor. Particularly bad singing humor.

      1. “Oh I’m a lumberjack and I’m OK!
        I sleep all night and I work all day!”

        What’s not to understand?

      2. Two things I never could understand. 1) Dance.

        Even this one?

    3. So, I’ve been trying to improve my speed reading lately. It going fairly well.so far, but when my eyes.scanned over that all my brain registered was “bleep bloop gobbledy gook derp”. I must be doing something wrong.

      1. bzzzzzz…. CRA… zzzz…. equal protection…. zzzzz…. slippery slope…. zzzz….

        Oppressed people stood up against the injustice of being dragged to death behind pickup trucks so a few generations later their great grandkids could, through false allegations and interpretive dance, freely earn it.

      2. Did blood start shooting out your ears? If not then you did better than me.

    4. Wasn’t enough posting that in the mourning lynx, you fuckstick? Have to torture us with it again?

      1. Wasn’t enough posting that in the mourning lynx, you fuckstick? Have to torture us with it again?

        My refractory period is over. I’m going for round 2.

    5. “, I am going to dance my way to liberation. I am protesting the university’s refusal to protect black students, queer students, trans students, women and femmes from white supremacist capitalist patriarchy and sexual violence. I am going to dance, in videos and on stages, until I receive my diploma next May. I am carrying the torch: Emma carried her mattress across the stage at Commencement, and I will dance across the stage at mine. The Black X on my chest is the target?the challenge?to all of the men’s rights activists, racist liberals, pithy misogynists, transphobes and spineless bureaucrats, anyone who believes I am a “lying nigger piece of shit,” to not threaten or silence me, to not call me “crazy,” but to shoot me like the cowards you are if you do not believe in my right to live, learn, heal, and exist. It is not only within Columbia’s, but our collective hands to decide when the violence will end. For now, I will dance. I will protest. I will fight. And I WILL win. “

      If Columbia is suffering from an Epidemic of Rape-Tolerance and lack of Victim Protection etc….

      …what stopped this snowflake from *transferring*? I presume they’re actually paying some kind of tuition. At what point do people put their money where their mouth is rather than just dance their way to class credit through constant self-flagellation?

      Or maybe that’s the point. You get better grades when you put your whining through a post-modern megaphone.

      1. speaking of White Supremacist Capitalist Patriarchy…

        Wasn’t this “paul” guy constantly telling everyone that “he was a feminist too, and jeez guys, i’m on your side?”

        http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12…..umbia.html

        “Mr. Nungesser, who is from Germany, says he believes sexual assault is an important cause for concern. “My mother raised me as a feminist,” he says, well aware of how those words will strike some people, “and I’m someone who would like to think of myself as being supportive of equal rights for women.””

        And from Germany! No one from Germany ever oppressed anyone.

        1. And from Germany! No one from Germany ever oppressed anyone.

          I see nothing!

        2. Well, which is it? Is he a feminist, or someone who is supportive of equal rights?

    6. I had a roommate in college who used to write like that for his queer theory class. The difference is A) he knew he was slinging bullshit, but thought it was a hilariously fun game to try to cram a little meaning into as many words as possible, B) his real interest was musical theater, (he was exceptionally good at it too – went straight from college to off-Broadway) but the university didn’t offer non-academic majors, so he took something he thought would be fun (in this case Literature, with a side order of silly politics), and C) he had a certain amount of wit and flair to his Fucaultian blather. This reads like it was written by the state central committee on social justice and victimology.

      1. I thought it was written by software.

  15. My prediction… in two decades, Ms. Sulkowicz will either be in dead from suicide or in jail. And the news article will detail a life going downhill, drug alcohol abuse, petty crimes and periods of homelessness.

    And while some deranged people will try to blame Nungesser for shattering her psyche, the people who truly know her will know deep in their hearts that she was broken well before she arrived at Columbia, and instead of helping her, the people ‘supporting her in her struggle’ were in fact cynically using her and cast her aside the moment she became worthless to them.

    1. “Less Than Zero – Part Deux”

    2. I still feel like it has something to do with her being the child of psychiatrists.

      1. ^THIS^

        Pretty much every psychiatrist’s kid I’ve met has turned out to be batshit insane.

      2. It would not surprise me if she were the victim of childhood sexual abuse or the sibling of someone who was abused.

      3. PK has evolved in the 21st century.

    3. My prediction… in two decades, Ms. Sulkowicz will either be in dead from suicide or in jail. And the news article will detail a life going downhill, drug alcohol abuse, petty crimes and periods of homelessness.

      Mmmmm… I say her life could go either way. Within the worldview she operated in, she was quite deft at exploiting all the bullet points which provide value to those steeped in its culture.

      She could also be a go-to expert for NPR on any subject relating to campus sexual violence.

    4. and instead of helping her

      I’ve actually developed a tiny piece of sympathy for this woman. One of her friends or advisors should have come alongside her a long time ago and provided some hard choices.

      1. come alongside her a long time ago and provided some hard choices

        Isn’t that what Nungesser did? And look what it got him!

    5. More likely: she’ll be the Title IX coordinator for Columbia.

  16. If she had any brains at all she’d sell it on eBay. Someone might buy it there, if only to set it on fire.

  17. Bob Guccione should offer to buy it. Or the milk porn guy.

    1. Guccione is dead. Maybe Lou Reed would be interested.

  18. I suppose, depending upon whether one finds Sulkowicz’s account more credible, or Nungesser’s.

    Trolling tarran I see…

  19. The real question that no one’s asking:

    Will someone pay $90,000 dollars for this piece of art?

  20. and luxuriating in the distance from the 50-pound mattress she hauled around daily since September

    I’ve said this in other threads – every picture I see of her with her matress (sans graduation) she’s wearing the same tanktop and jean shorts. I don’t believe she carried it much at all.

    1. Not to mention how someone is helping her in almost every picture.

      1. I’m also thinking if she would bring it to each class and leave it outside, some bum would eventually commandeer it for a nice place to crash – or does Columbia use a bunch of armed goons to keep the

  21. What makes her work interesting and viable for the long term is its immediacy,

    You can’t even satirize these people. I was steeped in enough literary criticism during my education that I can usually decode these word-salads into something approaching a coherent thought, but this is clearly just nonsense. Its long term viability is due to its immediacy? How does that make any fucking sense!?

    1. As it’s been pointed out, the pseudo-intellectual pursuits most in need of peppering with unnecessarily complex and flowery language. It acts as filler for the utter lack of substance.

      1. The dumber the thought, the more its adherents need to hide it with obscure terminology to avoid the ridicule they deserve.

    2. How does it make sense that a girl who by her own admission had and continued having an intimate, cordial relationship with a man she later accuses of rape, but only after he spurns her, then has her complaint rejected both by the police and a notoriously deferential administrative adjudicator, in response to which she stages a tasteless art exhibition to harass her exonerated “rapist”, and intelligent people can’t seem to shower her with enough plaudits? Nothing at this stage makes sense except brainlessly cleaving to the long-discredited “one in five” myth. Their insipid logic makes just as little sense as the bit of verbal incontinence you quoted. At this point narrative is all they have left.

      1. “At this point narrative is all they have left.”

        That is all they ever had.

  22. Ron Jeremy and Peter North could always use a mattress, hon.

    Maybe you can….never mind.

  23. I’d buy that for a dollar.

  24. The diary also takes stock of “a lot of misreadings,” including a failure on most observers’ part to notice the nine months of her endurance feat for what it was: the same as the term of a pregnancy. That was part of the project from the beginning, the artist insists: “When I started, I knew that Columbia was not going to kick him [the subject of her protest: her alleged rapist] off campus just because I was carrying a mattress. That’s ridiculous. I knew I would be carrying it for nine months, and that was a very important part of the piece to me.”

    Pregnant with meaning, folks.

    1. Can’t get pregnant by getting fucked in the butt – at least that is what I hear.

    2. I did not believe, but you truly are the worst!

  25. Will the cum stains be preserved in a museum?

  26. her ability to understand how her work works within the context of art history

    As renowned Impresario, Art Historian and all around Arbiter of Taste P T Barnum opined, “There’s a collector born every minute.”

  27. Doesn’t her dorm mattress belong to the school?

  28. Kickstarter to install it in Jezebel/Gawker HQ?

    1. In a just (and substantially more poetic) world she’d wear it from her neck as she harangues passersby with the tale of her folly.

      1. +1 Rime of the Ancient Bullshitter

  29. Maybe it was mentioned in the linked article, but doesn’t the Tate Modern have some skanky mattress with used condoms and cig butts on it? Another wannabee female artist.

  30. For my Visual Arts Senior Thesis I will use a meditative dance practice that harnesses kinetic energy within my body as an embodied metaphor for the evasion of structural and interpersonal violence, and as an incipient expression of black, trans/feminine and queer identity and resistance.

    Go FULL SPAZ, in other words. Will he also shit himself, for effect?

    1. I hit the link. I’d say he already has.

  31. How about selling t-shirts:

    “Emma Sulkowicz gave me affirmative consent and all I got was this lousy rape charge”

    1. “. . . affirmative consent to backdoor her like frickin’ Bonobo on Viagra, and all I got . . . “

  32. nice endowment you have there. sure would be a shame justice for it to go to a victim of a false rape allegation.

  33. If the guy is innocent doesn’t that make her guilty? and why isn’t she charged with a crime?

  34. Good luck with that Emma. You might get a better price if you de-louse it.

  35. I must say, I got more laughs out of this thread than anything else I’ve read in a very long time. Job well done, everyone!

  36. Hasn’t Larry Flynt offered her a job yet?

    -jcr

  37. Sure, Emma is a brave girl, but the mattress itself is showing a lot of spunk.

    1. Damn! Someone should buy it and turn it into a mechanical walking mattress!

    2. Sure, Emma is a brave girl, but the mattress itself is showing a lot of spunk.

      And a latecomer to the thread wins it all. Very well done, sir.

  38. I am flabbergasted that no one has suggested “Night at the Museum”.

    Flabber-fuckin-gasted.

  39. What if someone bought it and, in the name of art, displayed the mattress soaking in a vat of urine?

    I wonder if art critics would hail it as a wry comment on contemporary mores, or condemn it as heresy against the SJW religion.

    1. Someone should give her $5 for it, and then use it the centerpiece for a bukkake scene.

  40. What a waste of a bob-o-pedic!!

  41. Okay everyone, stick with me here… But I think I remember a logic proof from college that went something like this…

    All good mattresses weigh more than 50 pounds.
    All guilty rapists are convicted without a reasonable doubt.
    Therefore, all rapes “committed” on a light (can be carried around for weeks, and across the graduation stage) mattresses, towed by some dumb attention whore, isn’t provable without a reasonable doubt.

    But then again, the mattress could be a prop, and then I would argue: So is her story.

    At least the school got this one correct.

  42. She needs to be in a room with mattresses on the walls. She is a loon…

  43. Doesn’t the left know just how big is the carbon footprint of a luxury item like a mattress? Surely they must understand the importance of using each mattress to it fullest (for sleeping upon each night?) rather than for performance art and political grandstanding. What role do extra mattresses play in global warming? Call out the Coast Guard!

  44. Is there a national bedbug museum willing to take that nasty mattress? What about a psychopathic bitch museum?

  45. “It’s extremely gratifying that Emma Sulkowicz has become the new poster girl for false rape accusations. May she live in well-deserved infamy.

    The rate of sexual assault for college women is 6.1 per 1000 according to the Department of Justice.- and the numbers are going down steadily.

    Victims of false rape accusations suffer at least as much as survivors of rape. You can get over rape – you can’t survive a false rape accusation. Your life is damaged forever and it may lead to death by suicide or vigilante. Men commit 4 times as many suicides as women.

    False rape accusations are the moral equivalent of rape. False rape accusations are as damaging to men as real rape is to women. It’s time they are punished as the heinous felonies they are. 20 years to life sounds about right for those perps. Why are Emma Sulkowicz, “”Jackie,”” and their ilk not in prison for a long time?

    Laws need to change – quickly.
    Let’s call the new law the “”Emma’s Law.””

    Birric Forcella –

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