Joe Scanlan

Massachusetts Wedding Bed, 2004

Commerce Breeds Acceptance

In the early stages of any civil rights movement, protests, demonstrations, editorials and public advocacy are crucial for bringing issues to the attention of a wider public. Such actions are generally spawned by frustration and received with anger, and no amount of appeals to ethics or rights can fully overcome the spirit of conflict, of resentment, with which a movement starts. After the high ideals and lowdown nastiness have run their course, however, it is commerce that ultimately accomplishes what piety and aggression could not. Americans, as a majority, are against gay marriage. But an even greater majority - and one with a much deeper conviction - is for the sale at a profit of shoes, gowns, tuxedos, rings, flowers, cakes, flatware, decorations, champagne, pajamas, hotel rooms, airline tickets, almonds, lace and candles. In the long run, the dull routine of commerce - of money exchanged for goods and services, the taxes paid on that income and the goods and services consumed - does more to persuade the American public of what is right and decent than sophisticated rhetoric ever could. Hence, The Massachusetts Wedding Bed. The only bed on the market whose very purchase is a statement of support for the rights of any two consenting adults to get married, however they see fit.

A Press Conference

The Massachusetts wedding bed made its world premiere at 5:00 PM on January 22, 2005, just forty-eight hours after George W. Bush was inaugurated to his second term in office. At this time, Things That Fall staged a press conference titled “Two or Three Americans Field Questions About Their Country From in Bed” at 46 Leliegracht, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. For one hour, members of the Dutch press and art viewing public were welcome to ask Donelle Woolford, Greg Scanlan and Joe Scanlan questions about the United States, their fellow citizens, their government and their shopping habits, or any other questions they cared to.