Warning: This post contains images of a very nude human iPhone charger and is not suitable for work.
Even if you know very little about art you can enjoy the most prominent headlines coming out of the art world's foremost bacchanal, Art Basel Miami Beach. The most mentioned artists of this year's crop were Miley Cyrus, Kim Kardashian, Diddy and Drake... Have you heard of them? And, of course, Usher, who made some impromptu art by plugging a cell phone into a naked model's vagina. Yup, this is all really happening.
The story goes: One fateful day during #ABMB2014, Usher walked into JJ Brine's Vector Gallery booth at the Select Fair. (Vector Gallery is, by the way, "The Official Art Gallery of SATAN.") One installation on view, titled "Body As Commodity," asked viewers to consider "whether using a doll for sexual pleasure commodifies sex more or less immorally than using a real body for amenities that can be monetarily quantified such as energy; the charging of a mobile phone."
In non-artspeak, it invited viewers to charge their cell phones in the vaginal cavity of model Lena Marquise, who was naked. Of course, this was all to "exemplify the exchange of simulated sexuality for monetary gain"... because Art.
Usher allegedly paid the bargain price of $20 and stuck his phone into the battery pack, nestled inside Marquis' person for a whopping 10 minutes. The creative interaction explored many pressing contemporary topics, it's true. How a woman is still objectified for entertainment even in the supposedly progressive world of art. How celebrity and nudity still dominate the headlines of an art-centric event -- we know, this headline included. How artworks meant to call the unsavory aspects of culture into question often end up affirming them.
As art critic Perez Hilton put it: "We're not really sure how this is art, but it's awesome!"
While we are certainly shaking our heads at this artistic episode, it's at least more vaguely related to art than the other trending Basel stories, which include Leonardo DiCaprio taking 20 women home from a nightclub and Diddy and Drake getting into a nightclub brawl. Let's hear it for the art world, y'all!