The Bumbys dole out fair (and silent) fashion critiques
New York performance artists appraise your appearance at Cosmo’s P3 Studio
Wed, Mar 14, 2012 (4:23 p.m.)
Photo: Bill Hughes
- The Bumbys
- Through April 1; Thursdays, 7–8 p.m.; Fridays, 8–9 p.m.; Saturdays, 8–10 p.m.; Sundays, 7–8 p.m.
- The Cosmopolitan’s P3 Studio
- Beyond the Weekly
- The Bumbys
There’s something unusually thrilling about standing before a woman with a colored bandana over her face, large sunglasses and a synthetic cherry red wig as she looks you over, then types her “fair and honest appraisal of your appearance” on a manual typewriter. Equally exciting is the party favor, the note that she pulls from the typewriter, then hands to you—a witty description of who you might be.
According to Jill Bumby, one half of The Bumbys (taking residency at the Cosmopolitan’s P3 Studio), I’m a super sporty type, “like a modern-day Gidget.” But, shouldn’t I “be in San Diego getting ready for the surf competition?”
Yes. Yet here I am, fortunately, experiencing the career of the New York performance artist who, along with her partner, Gill, has been offering personalized assessments of guests at some pretty prestigious venues—the Pulse Art Fair at Art Basel Miami, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, Deitch Projects, Barneys New York, the Armory Show and the Brooklyn Museum (to name a handful).
The Bumbys are at P3 Studio through April 1, but don’t expect any sort of conversation while getting Bumby’d. Anonymity is part of the act. Even on a rare TV interview, their voices were changed to conceal their identities. Handlers are present at Cosmo to answer any questions, so long as they aren’t in regard to Gill and Jill’s assessment qualifications. The most we know is that Gill was doing this on the street in Brooklyn when Jill learned of him and thought he could use a female sidekick—and that the performance sort of nods to the amusing activities in Andy Warhol’s Factory. Judging by the appraisals we appraised, Gill and Jill have a fairly well-rounded education and can ad-lib on anything from pop culture to art and fashion while slipping in quips on geography, sports or collective nostalgia.