Zane Bennett Contemporary Art is pleased to announce our annual group exhibition, entitled A Square Foot of Humor. The opening is Friday November 30th at the gallery, 435 South Guadalupe Street, across from the rail station, from 5:00‐7:00 pm to coincide with the Railyard Arts District Last Friday Art Walk.
A Square Foot of Humor
In 13th Century Europe, a Fools Guild educated, organized and controlled the network of Fools. A Fool was a jester, musician, dancer and entertainer, usually attached to a royal court or a manor house but was often a diplomat, spy, and critic. While feigning stupidity (which was how they survived their outspokenness) the fool had a unique position in a community’s power structure and was able to openly criticize, contradict and make political suggestions to the rulers of the day. Folly, the philosophy of the fool, is a ritualized outlet for repressed sentiments.
It is well known that the Fool knows the only true madness is to recognize this world as rational. Certainly in today’s world, there is so much chicanery and foolishness that we hardly know what is reasonable and what is madness. For our annual group show, Zane Bennett has asked our artists to express their concepts for “A Square Foot of Humor.”
Joshua Rose reminds us of the famous fools in history with two of William Shakespeare’s most intriguing characters: Will Sommers and Yorich. Will Sommers , Fool to Henry VIII, from the play Henry VIII, was the King’s most trusted friend and confident who served the King and family from 1535 to 1560. Sommers was included in several family portraits of the King and his children which in itself is remarkable. The other, Yorich, was the deceased Fool in Hamlet’s royal court and, although he is never “on stage,” is referred to as an important presence in the life of the royals. As Mark Edmundson wrote in his NY Times article, “Shakespeare's fools are subtle teachers, reality instructors one might say, who often come close to playing the part that Socrates, himself an inspired clown, played on the streets of Athens. They tickle, coax and cajole their supposed betters into truth, or something akin to it.”
What makes us laugh? Many say it is contextual and that humor is a surprise without a threat or promise. Roger Atkins offers us an unmarked box on the wall to open. Inside we read a multitude of opening lines to some of the artist’s favorite jokes. If we are open to a laugh, we no doubt will try to finish the joke!
Stephen Buxton wonders what has happened to comedy and humor in our time? He says, “even the jester has taken a back seat to our contemporary rulers, who have now taken center stage to amuse us with their antics.” His work represents an reflection of one’s self staring back and being mocked by an underlying or sinister joke; we are not sure where the humor is but feel left out or targeted as the “butt of the joke".
In Holly Roberts’ Adam and Eve, we skip the whole serpent in the tree scenario, as the serpent offers the apple to the pair directly. The joke then is on us or ratheAdam and Eve as they stare off into the heavens. Roberts’ figures are appealing and we would think twice about messing with the serpent, which is several times the size of the humans.
Roberts says “All I can say is that the work mirrors something I need, for whatever reason, to tell about. Almost always there seems to be something in the imageabout death or pain or fright or something gone wrong. There is always an edge or bite, something that attracts me more than just beauty. It’s like the best humor: theralways has to be something at least a little bit black to make it really work."
We invite you to enjoy the therapeutic effects of laughterfor yourself. Come see Zane Bennett's artists version of foolery in 'A Square Foot of Humor'.