When Life Gives You A Breakup, Make Art

Writers often turn their relationships — failed and successful — into stories and novels. But they’re not the only creative types spinning exes into gold. Recently, a few visual and performance artists have used dating and breakups as a starting point for their work. At least some people are finding uses for their relationship failures. We can’t seem to figure out what to do with our brokenheart.

  • Zach and Ellie play-acted through the stages of a relationship, including flirtation, marriage, child-rearing, and divorce, in a week. “I was surprised at how natural a lot this pretending felt, really,” Zach said. “It should have felt very foreign, I suppose, for a guy like me to suddenly find myself escorting my ostensibly very pregnant wife around town, but people accepted and even embraced us to such an extent that it really felt pretty natural.” [Seven Day Conceptual Relationship]
  • The Museum of Broken Relationships allows people to get rid of possessions they associate with past relationships, putting the items on display with a short, anonymous description related to the relationship. Items include an “I love you” teddy bear, fuzzy pink handcuffs, and a cell phone (“He gave me his cell phone so I couldn’t call him any more.” — Ouch). [Museum of Broken Relationships]
  • Sophie Calle’s Take Care of Yourself is on display in New York for one more month. The artist asked 107 women from various areas — opera, anthropology, psychiatry — to interpret a breakup letter she received via email. [Paula Cooper Gallery]