Emma Sulkowicz Will Answer (Almost) Any Question At Her First Solo Gallery Show

Post-graduation, Columbia University student and performance artist Emma Sulkowicz is following up her artworks Carry That Weight and Ceci N’est Pas un Viol with her first solo gallery show at Coagula Curatorial art gallery in Los Angeles.

The show will feature a new performance titled Self-Portrait (Performance with Object). Sulkowicz will sit in the gallery for three weeks and answer almost any question from gallery-goers — except those questions to which she’s no longer willing to respond, which she’ll hand over to the Emmatron, a robot version of the artist, who is programmed to respond to those questions for her. Visitors will be able to interact with Emmatron through an app.

A printed cut-out of Sulkowicz will also be on display, representing “the widespread commodification and flattening of her image in the news and on the internet.”

The idea is, as is becoming typical of Sulkowicz, pretty clever: In high-profile rape cases, the victim tends to be scrutinized in mainstream media more so than the alleged rapist (recall Steubenville); Sulkowicz is holding a mirror up to that scrutiny by handing repetitive, regurgitated, stereotyping questions over to a sound byte-producing machine — making the claim that these questions objectify victims, and fighting against that objectification by only personally answering questions that don’t. Sulkowicz has graduated from addressing her rape in Carry That Weight, to addressing the internet reaction to her rape in Ceci N’est Pas un Viol, to addressing how her case fits into the wider media coverage of rape in Self-Portrait (Performance with Object).

The exhibition, titled “Emma Sulkowicz: Self-Portrait,” will open on February 27.


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