Chan & Mann, Chan & Mann’s New Fantasy (The Video), stills from HD video, 16:29 min., 2013
Laugh-in: Art, Comedy, Performance
Curated by Jill Dawsey
MCASD La Jolla
700 Prospect Street, La Jolla, CA 92037-4291
January 23-April 15, 2015
Laugh-in: Art, Comedy, Performance explores the recent turn toward comedic performance in and as contemporary art. The exhibition features twenty artists who engage the strategies and themes of stand-up comedy as a means to rethink questions of artistic performativity, audience participation, and public speech. If stand-up evokes the image of an isolated figure, spot-lit on a stage, this form of comedy resonates with contemporary artists precisely for its direct if uncertain relation to an audience or public. Artists today look to stand-up comedy as well for its emphatic embodiment and its ability to upend hierarchies and power relations. Indeed, stand-up offers a forum in which comics and artists alike may examine stereotypes and taboos, testing what can and can’t be said. The exhibition suggests that this format makes particular sense to artists at a moment when they—like citizens everywhere—are seeking new modes of public address (think of the widespread use of social media, for example, or the recent emergence of the human microphone within the context of the Occupy movement).
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