No Laughing Matter: Art and Humor in Southern California (a Modest Sampling)

Open February 25 through April 15, 2010

Monday through Thursday,

11 am to 2 pm and 6 pm to 9 pm

Saturday, 10 am to 1 pm

(Closed for Spring Break, March 29 – April 5, 2010)

An artistic pun can be very amusing, whether based upon clever wit, farcical satire, or fanciful whimsy. This show is a sampling of works that use such potentially droll approaches, from artists who make humor the central theme of their work, to those who only occasionally decide to tickle our funny bone.

There was the time, in the 1970s, when artist Jeffrey Vallance buried a frozen chicken in a pet cemetery. In the 1960s, Richard Pettibone pulled off one of the great art stunts by making miniature copies of famous works in prominent LA collections, then selling the works to the same collectors. Today Stephen Berkman produces new photographs using antiquated processes to tease our sense of history, such as his image of a 19th century woman knitting a condom. And who does not know about William Wegman’s dog, Man Ray? These are a few of the artists and artworks in No Laughing Matter. Please don’t dismiss this art as lightweight fluff unworthy of sober consideration. This art is seriously funny.

Sixteen artists, some emerging, some veterans, are represented in the exhibition: Michael Arata, Walter Askin, Merwin Belin, Stephen Berkman, Jim Eller, Walter Gabrielson, Doug Harvey, Richard Pettibone, Pierre Picot, Erika Rothenberg, Ilene Segalove, Mahara Sinclaire, Dave Smith, Masami Teraoka, Jeffrey Vallance, and William Wegman.

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