Humor Me

01/27/2006 - 03/18/2006
Humor Me

In all its myriad forms, humor plays a significant and complex role in contemporary culture. As a ritualized form of social exchange and communication, humor makes an immediate impression and establishes a means of reception and connection.

In recent years, through parody and pun, satire and irony, pranks and slapstick, humor has also become an increasingly succinct and successful strategy for visual artists.

Humor Me spotlights the broad spectrum of humor in recent art: from the light-hearted antics of artists creating visual and verbal puns and incongruities to the more transgressive tactics of artists investigating a host of more serious subjects – including cultural and racial stereotypes, issues like civil liberties and freedom of expression, the identity of displacement and radical political change and upheaval, ideological totalitarianism, and, more generally, the human condition.

Humor Me considers the following three prevalent themes revealed in contemporary artistic practice and recent art:

-Imaginary Incongruities explored artists including Yang Zhenzhong, Adriane Herman, Vik Muniz, Jules deBalincourt, and Alexander Gutke who imagine and re-cast the realities of our ordinary, everyday existence, creating visual and sometimes verbal incongruities, relying on the elements of artifice, surprise, illusion, and discovery while they quite often end up overturning our own assumptions and expectations.

-Acting Out considered the performative actions of artists, including Peter Finnemore, Erwin Wurm, David Hammons, Ghazel, Joe Sola, Tamy Ben-Tor, Jon Pylypchuk, and William Pope.L, who question social and artistic conventions along with individual and cultural perceptions.

-The Narrative Impulse looked at the influence and inspiration of language and popular comics in works by David Shrigley, Jon Pylypchuk, Cary Leibowitz, and Reza Farkhondeh.

In conjunction with the exhibition was “The Reading Room: Graphic Novels was presented as the second show in a series of interactive exhibitions presenting a variety of books and reading materials in the Roger L. and Joni Cohen Resource Room at the Artspace. The Reading Room: Graphic Novels, was guest curated by Mark Spencer, Director of Creative Resources at Hallmark Cards, and Brockett Horne, Assistant Professor of Design and Illustration at the Kansas City Art Institute.

Humor Me is curated by Raechell Smith and the exhibition is accompanied by an illustrated brochure with an essay by the curator. Funding for this exhibition and programs has been provided by the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency, H&R Block Foundation, and the Richard J. Stern Foundation. Special appreciation is extended to the Lighton International Artists Exchange Program for their important support, enabling several of the artists to be included in this exhibition.


Art Papers

Reviews: Kansas City: Humor Me
May 1, 2006
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The Kansas City Star

‘Humor Me’ is heavier than it looks
February 23, 2006
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Press Release

Humor Me and The Reading Room: Graphic Novels
December 10, 2005
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