This Was Funny Yesterday

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As Far As I Could Get, 1996
This Was Funny Yesterday
Curated by: Jane Mulfinger

University of California, Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, CA 93106
September 27th, 2012 - October 19th, 2012
Opening: October 4th, 2012 6:30 PM - 7:30 PM

Santa Barbara, University of California


The use humor in art production is a fairly recent and often oddly overlooked development. This Was Funny Yesterday begins with a look at the use of humor in classic conceptual art and extends to a broad array of more recent practice. Including work by Vito Acconci, Brian Bress, John Divola, Martin Kersels, Allison Miller, Camilo Ontiveros, Stephanie Washburn, and the collective D3, this exhibition explores a kind of humor found nestled at the unlikely intersection of the physical world and abstract thought. With references to slapstick and gallows humor, some suggestion of the body collapses in the quiet entropy of a picture plane. Distinctions between media, self and other, presence and absence, all tend to fall apart. A comraderie of base materialism or an esthetics of failure vies with the archival impulse. Together, this diverse work helps define a sensibility distinct from the ironies of postmodernism. Begging empathy more than ridicule, its laughter teases us to a more acute sense of our limitations, interoconnectedness, and finally solidarity.