Sallie Scheufler’s art exhibit, “A Good Cry,” examined the act of crying both socially and emotionally from March 12 through 30.
This exhibit was her last step in earning her Master of Fine Arts degree at the University of New Mexico. The exhibit reflected her own experiences with crying and allowed viewers to begin to reflect on their own experiences, she said.
“This is an invitation to cry, not an obligation,” Scheufler said.
Two of the pieces in the exhibit were glass tissue boxes.
The first tissue box was 9 feet tall and contained approximately 7,000 tissues. This sculpture was titled “The Endless Tissue Box.” It is impossible to go through all of the tissues, because you can’t reach the top of the box. The was a box intended for the neverending cry, Scheufler said.
The endless tissue boxs’ counterpart was a glass tissue box that only had one tissue.
You only have one tissue to cry on, so it encourages thoughts about what that one cry should be about, Scheufler said.
She said she appreciates the form of tissues, which is one of the reasons why she felt tissues were a good medium for the exhibit. Scheufler also grew salt crystals on tissues that she had used and crumpled up when she put into her pocket.
Each one looks different, just as each cry is different, she said.
UNM student Denise Richards visited the exhibit, because she was intrigued by its name, she said.
Richards said the exhibit sparked dialogue about why crying is taboo, and people often feel ashamed of crying.
She said it is normal to cry and that she likes to cry herself.
“Crying in front of other people can create stronger relationships and allow people to bond. I feel like after people see this exhibit, it might show people that it’s okay to cry, because honestly everyone does it, even the tough guys,” Richards said.
Scheufler created a crying perfume and crying cream for visitors to use to induce crying during their visit.
"I want people to feel like they can cry," she said.
The perfume was made from onion juice, and the cream was made from menthol — both can induce crying, Scheufler said.
Another component of the exhibit was several types of handkerchiefs.
One of the handkerchiefs had an entire month’s worth of birth control sewn into it, so if someone were to cry on it, they would absorb the hormones from the birth control into their skin, Scheufler said.
Another handkerchief was onion-soaked, while others were water soluble and dissolved when cried on. Another was mascara-stained.
The exhibit also featured four videos of Scheufler crying.
In the first video, crying was induced by rubbing menthol underneath her eyes. In the second Scheufler cried by standing close to a fan and in the third she ate an entire red onion.
“The whole show is about my experience with crying and crying when I’m not supposed to be and my thoughts about crying,” Scheufler said.
Megan Holmen is a freelance news and culture reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @megan_holmen.