The Artist's World

September 11, 2001 to December 30, 1969

The Artist's World comically explores the predicaments faced by contemporary artists, as well as the institutionalized myths and personas that often distort our perception of the art world. The exhibition includes paintings, drawings, installations and video works by artists including Paul McCarthy, David Muller, Jim Shaw, Guy Richards Smit, Bob & Roberta Smith, collaborators Michael Smith and Joshua White, and Annika Ström. The humor varies from gentle to absurd, from parody to vicious satire. The targets of this humor include art dealers, collectors, critics, curators and the artists themselves.

While the contributors to The Artist's World employ diverse media, their pieces in the exhibition all use humor to open a window onto the foibles and frustrations of the world of art. McCarthy's video Painter, for instance, is a hilarious burlesque about an infantile abstract painter. Muller's drawings appear to be posters for shows by other artists; he will also install a T-shirt exchange allowing viewers to trade possessions for T-shirts he designs. Shaw's drawings and sculptures portray his dreams about the art world, including his interactions with gallery directors. Smit's video Stand Up: In Defense of Painting features a parody of an '80s-style superstar artist taking a turn as a stand-up comedian. Ström's videos combine scenes from her life with the pop songs she writes about the artist's life. Bob & Roberta Smith (the working name of one artist, Patrick Brill) creates jolly-looking signs that encourage viewers to create artwork themselves, as well as skewering famous artists with absurd agitprop denunciations.