Making Jokes: Humor as Subversive Strategy in Art
Paula Burleigh, visiting assistant professor of art, Allegheny College, and director of the Allegheny Art Gallery

Art does not enjoy a reputation for being funny. Yet historically, artists have used humor as a subversive strategy. Marcel Duchamp reserved his most tongue-and-cheek humor for artworks involving his female alter ego Rrose Selavy, a radical example of gender play from the 1920s. Among Jasper Johns’ most well-known works is Painting With Two Balls, essentially a bawdy jab at the masculinist posturing of the American Abstract Expressionists who dominated the New York art world after World War II. In the service of feminism, humor serves as a powerful political tool, as in Deborah Kass’s parodies of iconic works by Andy Warhol, rendered funny and poignant from the perspective of a queer, Jewish woman. This lecture examines key historical precedents for the so-called art of the joke, before exploring how humor has become one of the most important strategies in today’s contemporary art landscape.

$10 fee for guests and subscribers

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Add to Calendar 20200609 America/New_York WEBINAR: Paula Burleigh, “Making Jokes: Humor as Subversive Strategy in Art”