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What's So Funny?

Scholars of the highest class, when they hear about the Tao, take it and practice is earnestly.

Scholars of the middle class, when they hear of it, take it half earnestly.

Scholars of the lowest class, when they hear of it, laugh at it.

Without the laughter, there would be no Tao.


Ever go to an art museum and break out in a belly laugh in front of a painting? Ever SEE someone do that? I haven’t. I mostly see people in deep thought, quietly evaluating each piece of art in their own ways or using criteria they’ve learned from their education, art appreciation classes, or wherever. Sometimes, I hear people ask others quietly,  “this is art?” Or say “I could do THAT,” but I have never seen anyone just double over in laughter. Why not? Maybe the elitist would say it’s because people who go to art museums aren’t scholars of the lower class? 


What makes something humorous is subverting the viewer’s expectations. How can a painting DO that? I guess that’s what makes the “Bad art” museum so intriguing to me. Most people go to a museum to see fine art, art that lives up to or passes the criteria to be worthy of admiration or at least recognition as pushing the boundaries of art.


The first example that comes to my mind,  was Marcel Duchamp’s mustache on a postcard of Mona Lisa. Later, he went on to sign a urinal, display it and call it art. Duchamp was playing with the whole idea of what constituted art and the art world. 





Bansky’s work comes to mind, too. His work showcases a dark, subversive sense of humor, and mostly relies on irony to make its point about society. 





Richard Prince in the 80’s wrote little jokes on pieces off paper and sold them for ten bucks each. 





Then there are the comic strips. I especially enjoy the strip Garfield Minus Garfield. It often times portrays a pretty bleak reality though. It’s probably the best example of the Remix Comic trope. Hardly high art, right? 




So what’s the point, here? I enjoy a good laugh. Maybe some day, I’ll come upon a way to express that in my art.

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