Can Losing Your Virginity Really Be Performance Art?



To paraphrase Jarvis Cocker, “Do you remember the first time?” Yes, we're talking about that oh-so not particularly sweet moment of losing one’s virginity. For those of us who have gone through that particular rite of passage, let's spare a thought for 19-year old performance art student, Clayton Pettet who has announced his decision to lose his virginity in front of a ticketed audience of 100 people. Yikes.

The Central Saint Martins student’s performance piece entitled, "Art School Stole My Virginity," will take place on January 25. Pettet says of the project, “ Sex has been used in art for hundreds of years…The only reason why my piece is getting all this attention now is because it has the word ‘gay’ near it.” Pettet will be losing his virginity to a fellow male student. And, he thinks that's the real reason his art project has made national headlines.

Interestingly, the art college has distanced itself from this particular piece, and will be accepting a slightly more PG-13 version of this project based around “the whole idea of the kiss.” But, why is Pettet drawn to this particular topic in the first place? He explains that he is inspired by his life experiences and is interested in “gender labeling” and “general labeling.” We agree that both of these topics are interesting, but we're not so sure about making such a private and intimate act public. You can never relive the experience of the first time.

The saying goes that art imitates life and vice versa, but what will be revealed (metaphorically) from this performance? This writer believes wholeheartedly in an individual’s right to decide who they share their body with, but it still feels a little sad to think that something so personal will be shared with a whole bunch of strangers. Thank goodness, Pettet’s parent’s won’t be watching.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments section if you think a line has been crossed between art and reality. Would you want to see Pettet lose his virginity? (The Evening Standard)

ArtPhoto: Via The Evening Standard.