BALTIMORE — The global wedding market is a $300 billion industry where romance has been manipulated to such a high degree that getting married is often the most expensive endeavor of one’s life, aside from buying a home. Although wedding traditions appear to be governed by an iron (or platinum) fist, it’s shocking to realize that major retailers invented most of our customs — including the white dress, diamond ring, and gift registry — in the past 80 years. What is most alarming is how little Americans deviate from capitalist heteronormative wedding practices, despite the legalization of same-sex marriage in 2015, and how divisive weddings remain — for couples, extended families, and all who believe that love, not your gender or race, determines the right to marry.
Who better than artists to challenge and reclaim this oppressive system as a unique declaration of love? In Baltimore, two artists have upended the traditional wedding, realizing it as a month-long gallery exhibition and queer performance series. Miami is Nice, hosted at SpaceCamp, a cavernous artist-run gallery, features work by 45 artists from across the country and looks nothing like a traditional wedding, except for the cheesecake station, but manages to celebrate the aesthetics and values of grooms Zachary Z. Handler and Nick Horan in a variety of unique ways.