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Sleeping Beauty: The 'insane' art exhibit that forces people to get married

A Ukrainian art installation invites wannabe Prince Charmings to kiss a sleeping princess. The catch: If she wakes up, the next step is the altar

A Canadian-Ukranian artist named Taras Polataiko has taken the concept of loving art to a disturbing new level. For an installation called "Sleeping Beauty" at the National Art Museum of Ukraine, Polataiko has recruited several women to dress up like princesses and, feigning sleep, await the transformative kiss of a real-life Prince Charming. Here's the curveball: Any male museum-goer who kisses one of the "Sleeping Beauties" may have to marry her (see a video below). Is this a thought-provoking statement about... something? Or just crazy? Here, a brief guide:

How does this project work?
Five women take turns dressing up in long, satin nightgowns, and lying on altar-like beds set up in an open gallery room. Viewers are invited to walk in and observe them. Males 18 and up have the option of planting a kiss on Sleeping Beauty's lips, as long as they've signed a binding contract that says, "'if I kiss the beauty and she opens her eyes while being kissed, I marry her'," Polataiko tells Britain's Telegraph.

And people are going along with this?
Polataiko has managed to get five young women to play the part of Sleeping Beauty. "If it's my true love, I will feel it on an intuitive level. If I don't feel it, I won't open my eyes," one of the beauties says. "What if it's the only way I'll meet my soul mate?" While more than a few male museum-goers have tried their luck, so far none of the women has "awoken," so nobody has had to get hitched. Still, the exhibit, which continues until Sept. 9, is not without its detractors.

Such as?
The Ukrainian Ministry of Culture tried unsuccessfully to shut down the show. You don't, however, have to be an official arbiter of culture to recognize that this is completely "insane," says Neetzan Zimmerman at Gawker. Many of the people initially drawn to the project got cold feet. A hundred women applied to be Sleeping Beauties, but only 20 showed up for the interviews.

So is this art, or just a bad joke?
As an exercise in match-making, it seems like a bust, says Carmel Lobello at Death and Taxes. Anyone who's seen the video of the guys who are hoping to win a beautiful wife with nothing more than an anonymous smooch (see below) can tell you that the exhibition is a real "weirdo magnet." But, as art, the "work says a lot about fairytale myths surrounding weddings — that love is fate and if you're pretty enough and have enough patience Prince Charming will arrive and wake you, however limp and inactive you might be."

Sources: Death and Taxes, Gawker, News Talk, Telegraph

Watch a report on the Sleeping Beauty project:

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