Thursday, September 24, 2009

Nina Katchadourian's 'CARPARK'

Francis Alys's When Faith Moves Mountains made me think of CARPARK (in terms of the amount of effort).

From For one day all the incoming cars were sorted by color into the 14 different parking lots at the school, resulting in the fields of colored cars. The white lot was the largest (17% of cars in San Diego were white), with red as the runner-up (13%). No one could find their car at the end of the day.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Parody of the Samurai show at Asian Art

"Lord It's the Samurai" is an online parody of the Asian Art Museum's "Lords of the Samurai" exhibition. 'The parody Web site - - closely mimics the design of the Web page that the Asian museum devoted to its exhibition - so closely that some contributors to the busy West Coast blog mistook it for the real thing...' (SFGate article "Samurai parody takes jab at Asian Art Museum" by Kenneth Baker)

Some related links

Hey everyone. Here's some links relating to the humor of politics. I've left off the Yes Men so as not to take the wind out of Nikki's sails for her presentation next week.

• Improv Everyhwere is a group headed by Charlie Todd in NYC. They call their pranks "missions" and they refer to themselves as "agents", which automatically gives their work the rhetoric of a government agency. While not all their missions seem political, I would argue that their intervention into public space often creates a political situation, whether they intended it or not. Here's some of my favorites: (Note in Frozen Grand Central an observer says "It's some kind of protest.")

Frozen Grand Central
Best Buy
Look Up More
Offshore Gambling
Human Mirror

Here's a link to game of volleyball over the US/Mexico border that was produced for Wholphin.

• Daniel Joseph Martinez

From the Whitney site, "The work takes its name from Walter Benjamin’s coinage for a form of violence that functions as pure means, with knowable ends. The installation of 125 panels, painted in automotive goldflake and each bearing the name of an organization around the world attempting to affect politics through violent means, is part of a larger ongoing project whose open-ended mix of theory, politics, and research is representative of Martinez’s entire practice."

• Banksy
Pet Shop
Bristol Museum

• Sandow Birk • Try and go see his exhibit at Cathrine Clark before it closes on Halloween.

Enriqu Chagoya

Honore Daumier

• John Heartfield

• Barbara Kruger

William Hogarth
Guillermo Gomez-Pena

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Gays can quote the Bible too


Images of Sandow Birk's American Qur'an...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

How Asians desecrated the peace sign

Youtube humor! Reminds me of the stand-up routine involving charts and classifications. Wonder if it is funny only to Asians... and whether it is problematic in any way.

Do Ho Suh & Tim Hawkinson

Two other works relate to today's discussion on artists who worked with scale/meticulous labor:

1. Do Ho Suh's Fallen Star 1/5

A Korean style house crashing into an American mansion. Their interiors are crafted with meticulous attention to detail (more info).

2. Tim Hawkinson's Bird

A small bird made from Hawkinson's fingernail clippings. Quite amazing in person. How does he keep his works from breaking apart when moved around...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Maurizio Cattelan

Image: La Nona Ora (The Ninth Hour)

Brief summary

1. Cattelan makes art that often uses taboo subjects which people react as a one-liner and do not move pass the punchline to analyze what it is saying, which is a disservice to both the artist and the viewer.

2. His works implicate the audience and enmesh them in what Tom Morton calls a 'mutual corruption', such as in Unfitted (2004), to take pleasure and being entertained, and at the same time, to think of children who are victims of one's everyday pleasures.

3. Many works reflect on his relationship with the art world, his entanglements with it. The art world provides him the opportunity to make work but at the same time he's frustrated by its restrictions and his lack of control:

a. A Sunday in Rivara (1992) literalizes his escape from the exhibition by knotted bed-sheets hanging down from the window.
- Vito Acconci's springboard out the gallery window is sharper

b. Unfitted (1996)

c. Finally, Wrong Gallery — can't live with the art world and can't live without it. His solution is to function within it and continue poking fun at it. Is this a defeatist attitude?

Observations and possible discussion questions

1. A point of art is to change it (what it's critiquing), and irony doesn't work.
Ironic pieces:
a. Blown Away
b. Wrong Gallery's participating at Frieze art fair

Irony doesn't work in changing what it is making fun of: do you agree or disagree?

2. Even if a piece can't change what it is critiquing, it is still worth making if it is funny and accessible to a non-art-world audience on some level. (The most interesting pieces are those that go outside the art world, such as The Ninth Hour/La Nona Ora).

What if it is only accessible to the art world elites? That provides a laugh to the art elite without changing anything. Is it still worth doing? (Thinking of post-Marxist, e.g. Lessig, as well as Hal Foster's critique of institutional critique art e.g. Andrea Fraser's).

Article: Tom Morton. "Maurizio Cattelan: Infinite Jester". The Artist's Joke (Documents of Contemporary Art).

Class readings

humor Fall09




Its Not Punny.pdf


stiles oldenburg.pdf


carrington picasso001.pdf


guerilla girls001.pdf

andrea fraser001.pdf

as Scott mentioned, there have been some technical issues, so let's try this to see if you all get access to ALL the readings. If not, we'll figure out something else,

Scott's email address & readings

Here are two links to the readings for next week:

We've been having a small glitch with some of the other PDFs, so please be sure to let me know if you have any problems retrieving these files. I'll be sending you additional readings for the semester very shortly.

Please also note that my email address is listed incorrectly on the printed version of the syllabus. My email is Feel free to contact me with any questions, comments, concerns, dry observations, or witticisms.


Hello everyone

This is a blog for the use of the SFAI class, Humor in Contemporary Art, taught by Allan deSouza... for you to share your ideas or something you find funny or upcoming show, or post visuals for your talk etc.. Blogging is fun (even addictive). You can edit your post ad infinitum, save it as draft only, and even delete it later if you decide you don't like it. Just email me for a blog invite (I check my email everyday). Have fun!