From Dino D’Annibale:
On Trend:Marina Abramovic, Meet Chelsea Handler? How Standup Comedy Became the New Performance Art
by Chloe Wyma
August 28, 2015
No longer at the margins of the art world, practitioners combining art and comedy are now attracting critical buzz and institutional recognition.
“Tonight I have cooked up—let me use your language—‘curated’ a show tonight,” the artist Jibz Cameron joked in the opening monologue of “Good Morning Good Evening Feelings,” her one-woman motivational variety show at the Kitchen last April. Cameron, performing as her spandex-clad, rubber-faced alter ego Dynasty Handbag, wore pancake makeup and an ill-fitting fluorescent pink satin waistcoat over a flesh-colored unitard. “I hope no one was thinking they were gonna see art,” she goaded the audience. “Are there art people here?” The ensuing lighting-fast hour included a lesson in how to make a smoothie out of immaterial fears and anxieties, an incoherent karaoke rendition of Madonna’s “Vogue,” and an interview with Womanhood (personified by a British-accented cartoon crotch in white panties.)
Cameron’s performances, which draw liberally from the conventions of standup comedy, are undeniably funny—but they also represent a new hybrid art form. From Jaimie Warren’s bizarre vaudeville to Jayson Musson (a.k.a Hennessy Youngman’s) viral Youtube sendups of art world orthodoxies with a dose of hip-hop swagger, contemporary art and alternative comedy have never been more intertwined. In certain cases, they’re indistinguishable.
Watch the Hennessy Youngman video
“It’s a cultural zeitgeist thing. I think standup is having an interesting moment, a kind of renaissance,” says Jill Dawsey, curator of the recent “Laugh In: Art Comedy Performance” at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. She counts experimental comics Maria Bamford and Reggie Watts among those who have expanded the genre to embrace unprecedented weirdness. “There’s this formal kinship where there are more experimental comedic acts that resemble performance art, and then there are a lot of artists who are doing something more like standup comedy.”
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