Seeing Things | Getting Hubbied
Her last name means partner or husband, and her parents have married and divorced each other more than once. So it’s no surprise that the Los Angeles artist Bettina Hubby is fascinated with the institution of matrimony. “Marriage is a big topic for me,” she said. “I was married and so were my parents, several times, and I wondered why marriage hasn’t changed or evolved the way other things have changed.” In 2009 she initiated Get Hubbied, a multitiered art project to investigate the idea of marriage, which she describes as both fragile and resilient. Hubby and the artist and musician Tif Sigfrids, who have been working together for the last four years, conducted intensive research into all aspects of marriage and the rituals surrounding the wedding ceremony.
More than 30 artists were invited to address elements of what Hubby calls a joyous project, from the garter to the ceremonial throwing of the rice. “At first I wanted to do an exhibition, but then we became so engrossed with all things marriage-related that we knew the end result had to be an actual marriage,” Hubby said. In her search for a couple willing to engage directly in a wedding as art project, she placed an ad in Artforum magazine that urged, “Don’t Get Married, Get Hubbied,” and a flood of readers responded. After interviewing at least 25 serious applicants (whose videos are posted on the Get Hubbied Web site), Hubby and Sigfrids found their couple.
On Sept. 25, at the Center for the Arts in L.A.’s Eagle Rock neighborhood, Rebecca Ulrich and Ruben Diaz will tie the proverbial knot in a legally binding wedding ceremony. The artist Joe Sola, who was temporarily ordained so that he can officiate, has created a performance on the subject of relationships and marriage especially for the occasion. Ed Ruscha designed die-cut cards proclaiming “I Do: the world’s greatest catch phrase,” which guests will receive as favors; Joshua Callahan is decorating the couple’s car; Sigfrids will serve as official videographer; and Hubby herself designed the bouquet: two giant flower-shaped piñatas. And there will be an exhibition, after all. The artwork, ephemera and film from “Get Hubbied” will be exhibited for a month at the Center for the Arts, opening on Oct. 15.