Dina Shpungin. Catch And Release, 2007, Video
Usually I just skip the video stuff when I am in a museum. The day I went to the Nash Gallery should have been no different. In fact I was in a hurry and had not even gotten this assignment yet. So I really intended to just look at the ‘pretty pictures’, and be on my way. But when I entered one of the rooms in the Enchanted Exhibition I saw a woman kissing a frog!
This of course was the most interesting ‘video stuff’ I have ever seen in a museum and I just had to write about it. Dina Spungin’s Catch And Release video shows a woman by a pond at night in a billowy nightgown. The woman goes to the pond and grabs a large frog out of the water; she then takes a colored magic marker and colors the frogs white underbelly. She turns the frog over and kisses him and throws it back into the water. She goes back to the pond, catches another frog and does the same thing using a different colored magic marker. The whole video goes through about five or six different frogs. What the hell is going on here?
Because I was struck with how bizarre this video was, it took me a couple of frogs to pick up on the whole ‘kissing a frog to get your prince’ connection. I think the coloring with magic marker on the frog’s bellies confused me. I later read the description of this work and it did mention that the coloring links to finding the frog again or prince. The description also noted that the girl had many tattoos and the artist made a link to her tattoos and coloring the frogs. But I don’t find these links important to why I was pulled into this video.
I was attracted to this video because it was so weird. I thought look at this feminine girl kissing a slimy frog, and she does not seem one bit disgusted. Then she draws in marker on his belly. This made me think ‘poor frog that can’t be healthy for him, does PETA know about this? These thoughts are what made me stay and watch the video until the end and until I finally got the charming prince connection.