With finals week approaching and the weather growing colder, it’s tempting to stay in bed.
One UNM art student did just that on Wednesday, although she decided to bring her bed out into the cold.
Grace Moreau, a senior fine arts student at UNM, brought her mattress to the center of Smith Plaza Wednesday for a performance art piece.
Performance art is her focus as an artist, and the piece is for her Art and Ecology class.
“I am out here doing a performance that’s encouraging just moments of comfort and solace when things are crazy. So I’m inviting anyone to just come and get in bed with me and just hang out,” Moreau said.
Moreau brought her mattress out at sunrise and stayed until sunset, she said.
“The project was originally designed as a statement about how people are trying to get into our beds and taking it to where it’s not a place of comfort anymore — by trying to legislate morality by telling us who we can have in our beds and who we can’t have in our beds, and telling us what’s socially acceptable,” she said. “Then it just grew from there as I wanted to take back the idea of a bed as a place of comfort and solace, because it really is, and create that comfort and solace for the people around me.”
Moreau said the project was originally inspired by the rhetoric of Republicans and Donald Trump about women and the LGBTQ community.
“Republicans, and Donald Trump in particular, have had negative rhetoric about women and what they can or should do with their bodies,” she said.
The bed’s blue comforter was spray painted with the title of the Maya Angelou poem “Come and Be My Baby,” a poem published in the 1975 collection, "Oh Pray My Wings Are Gonna Fit Me Well."
“When the world is crazy, come and be my baby, I’ll take care of you, and we can just kind of take care of each other,” Moreau said.
In the morning UNMPD and security tried to get her to leave, she said.
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“When I first started, they came up and told me I shouldn’t be here,” Moreau said. “With the PD I showed them my student ID, and I showed them the receipt of me notifying them that it was going to happen. And then the security, they were a little more adamant that I had to move because classes were starting and students were going to be on campus. But after some convincing that I was actually a student, then they went away.”
Moreau was also not worried about the cold, she said.
“It’s not bad. I’ve got plenty of blankets and I’ve got a hat around here somewhere. It was colder this morning,” she said.
Two of Moreau’s friends were lying on the bed with her.
Nick Piazza, a senior studying international studies, said the project was comfortable.
“I like that you’re bringing comfort to a place that’s a crowded busy walk path. It’s a brick — you know, you don’t lay on the bricks usually. You skateboard on the bricks, but not today,” he said.
Noel Mollinedo, a junior art student, said the project facilitated thoughtful conversations and offered a great way to connect.
“I think the conversations that we’ve had today have been pretty poignant to my day, and I think that you’ve been doing that with a lot of people,” he said.
Moreau said she saw very different reactions to the performance piece.
“I had some people call me crazy and a lot of people had questions, but they’re too nervous to get in bed with me. But I’ve had some good experiences of strangers getting into bed, or friends getting into bed and just talking,” she said, adding that most responses were positive. “Positive wise, some girl just got out of some hard pretest for a final and she was like, ‘Oh this is so nice, this is much more comforting.' So it’s nice that it’s a comfort in that way.”
At one point, Moreau said another girl came in with a bunch of different people.
“We had maybe five or six people in bed maybe 20 minutes ago," she said. "It was just really amazing, because it was every kind of person that we could possibly have. I really thought that particular moment was awesome, because it was a collective hanging out and embracing the warmth and the niceness of the bed all together, without any of the BS or any of the rest of it.”
But one response was a little more dramatic than the others.
“I also had a guy parkour over me earlier,” Moreau said. “It was a little terrifying.”
Cathy Cook is a news reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @Cathy_Daily.