by Willis Krumholz
The Walker Art Center’s latest performance is a play entitled This Bridge Called My Ass, by Miguel Gutierrez.
According to the playbill, “Movement artist Miguel Gutierrez’s second Walker commission provocatively investigates identity politics, Latinx clichés, and Western concepts of form, drawing from (in part) the influences of the groundbreaking 1981 feminist anthology This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color. Gutierrez and five diverse Latinx performers amplify stereotypes to move past respectability politics within an unstable environment of bodies, light, sound, and text (in Spanish, with surtitles). The chaotic, playfully erotic production concludes with an over-the-top version of an absurdist telenovela.”
The Walker then notes that the performance “contains nudity and sexual content.” The picture accompanying the text shows several men in sheer (see-through) undergarments, straddling each other. One man appears to be trying not to stick his fingers through a fan, which is plugged in and running.
The esteemed New York Times calls this piece of art “A dense, audacious and wickedly funny work that … contains multitudes and unflinchingly bears their weight.”
But if you aren’t cultured, or don’t understand what “five diverse Latinx” means, too bad. Because you’re paying for it.
Per person, the state of Minnesota spends the most taxpayer dollars on art in the United States. This is thanks to the Legacy Amendment, passed in 2008 by voters, which dedicates a “constitutionally dedicated funding source for maintaining clean water; fish, game and wildlife habitat; the arts and cultural heritage; and parks and trails.” The Legacy Amendment is paid for via a 0.375 addition to the state sales tax, which is in place until 2034.
After the Legacy Amendment, Minnesota moved past states like New York and Hawaii in per capita art funding. Since 2009, Minnesota has spent over $200 million on artists and art organizations across the state.
From 2010 to 2017 alone, the Walker Art Center received $3.9 million in taxpayer funds. That figure is, of course, higher today, and it makes Walker one of the biggest recipients of state funds, behind only the Guthrie Theatre and the Minnesota Orchestra.
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Photo “This Bridge Called My A**” by walkerart.org.