Laugh? I nearly did.

Time for a bit of froth.

Now, dear readers and fellow-bloggers, I need your help.
I’m on the hunt for Funny Art and Art Jokes. Having scoured the internet (well, the first page of a Googled search – you know how it is) I have been appalled to discover just how little of the funny stuff there is out there.

And I don’t mean Bad Art, hilarious as it often is. You will recall my delight at coming across The Museum of Bad Art and the ghastly treasures therein:

No. I want Art With A Humourous Intent.
There must be some out there.

Of course,  there’s David Shrigley. But even he doesn’t find his work that amusing.

On this he and I are as one.
(I did however find the ‘catocopter’ – very Shrigleyesque – entertaining for about a minute.

I love my cat, but that doesn’t stop me being a sicko.)

And ‘art jokes’! Where are they?
And why, with a terrible irony, considering he’s viewed as the most tragic of geniuses, do most of them seem to be about poor old Vincent ?

“Man walks into a pub and sees van Gogh standing at the bar. “Oi, Vinnie! You’re my hero! Let me buy you a drink?”
“You’re alright, pal. I’ve got one ‘ere’.”

Hahahaha. Ahem. Not really.

And then there are those dreadful ‘Van Gogh’s Relatives’:

His Mexican cousin’s American half brother — Grin Gogh
The constipated uncle — Can’t Gogh
His niece traveling the country in a van — Winnie Bay Gogh
His nephew the psychoanalyst — E Gogh

And so on and so forth.
It took me a while to even ‘get’ them. We Brits – equally egregiously, I’m sure, to Dutch ears – pronounce ‘Gogh’ as ‘Goff’.
As in:
His notorious truant Brummie nephew – Bunkin Gogh
His eternally contagious niece – Whooping Gogh   (Ouch.)
His cricketing, ‘Strictly’-winning second cousin – Darren Gogh:

Athlete supreme

I know. They’re rubbish. I’m trying here.

Oh, and for the record I don’t want ‘witty’, pointed jokes. You know what I mean:

“During World War II an inquisitive German officer was harassing Picasso in his Parisian apartment. Noticing a photograph of Guernica lying on a table he asked the artist ”did you do that?” “No, you did,” responded Picasso.”

Or this:

These aren’t funny.
Sharp, maybe. Funny, no.
Unless you’re the type who goes to Shakepeare comedies and ‘laughs’ smugly and a bit too loudly to show how erudite and cultured you are. If you are the type, know this:
I hate you.

So, c’mon guys. Help me out here.
All contributions very gratefully received.
Let’s have a laugh.
God knows, we could all do with it.


Update 17/6/2012:

I thought this recent ‘Jubilee’ work by T’Art Club member Vincent Lee was amusing:

Check out also this post by Ann Jones:

17 thoughts on “Laugh? I nearly did.

  1. I got nothin. Sorry, I actually did a similar search for this myself a few months ago. I do enjoy the Museum of Bad Art and have quite a collection of my own…and love perusing Regretsy for laughs once in a while.

    • It’s a tough one, isn’t it? It does occur to me that comedy/funny is very subjective and also very tied to the prevailing comtemporary culture, whereas the ‘big themes’ are obviously universal and timeless, and therefore in a sense ‘easier’ to ‘artify’. Maybe I’m on a mission to nowhere.
      Will check out Regretsy – that’s a new one for me.
      Thanks, Mary Claire! :))

  2. I do know a couple of photographers that don’t take it all too seriously. E.g. Elliot Erwitt’s photos of dogs, Martin Parr’s interpretation of western life and Matt Stuart’s street photography. All 3 have a keen eye for funny things that they come across in real life. But would you call it art?

    • The only one I know (so far) is Martin Parr, and I adore him. Boring Postcards is one of my favourite books, and I find it totally hilarious. I’d forgotten all about him. And yes, I think if we can call Shrigley’s stuff ‘art’, then we can certainly call Mr Parr’s work the same!
      Will have a look at the other two.
      Thanks so much, Marcel.

      • LOVE the dogs, Marcel. Very wry. And Matt’s work I have actually seen before here and there – great timing, great observational eye.
        Thanks again.

  3. Contribution so far from my esteemed TC colleague, Mr Ian Hines:
    ” I used to go out with a young female artist, I found out that she had a wooden leg……………….So I broke it off!!!! LOL HA!!!!!!
    Her name was Eileen. LOL!!! HA!!!!!!!! xx♥”
    You see what I’m up against? 🙂

  4. I generally consider to be hilarious, and art. If you’re looking for single pane/picture art that is funny, that’s what memes are for. is probably a bit closer to comedy art. Or here, google funny graphic design, that should bring up just what your looking for. There are lots of unemployed graphic designers out there cranking things out. In general though, professional, comedic, “art” just doesn’t happen by virtue of the economics of the game, I think.

    • Thanks, Andrew! Will check’em all out. I’m always ready for a good laugh.
      I’m really after ‘fine’ art rather than graphic (into which category I’d put Shrigley, but no-one else seems to want to) – I follow quite a few cartoonists and commercial artists, comic strips etc and some of them are very funny indeed but they wouldn’t call themselves ‘artists’. And wouldn’t want to. I’m thinking ‘ART’ doesn’t lend itself to comedy – comedy is too contingent on culture/s, (satire, etc.) and ‘what’s funny’ changes with the generations; so yes, it wouldn’t be a particularly fruitful path for a ‘proper’ artist to follow.
      Saying that, Damien Hirst kills me. 😉

      • Comedy arranges itself in beats. It’s hard to arrange fine art into beats without multiple panes or being referential (in which case the first beat is in your head).

        • That’s it exactly, in a nutshell. Comedy depends on a narrative, a progression of some kind, a moving from A to B, even if the point of departure is in your head. It’s what I mean by being ‘contingent’, rather than the ‘fine art’ autonomous, singular image/artefact.
          No wonder there’s not much of it around – it’s too bloody difficult!

  5. An art joke from a completely unexpected source: Marina Abramović ended her talk at Tate Modern with (and this is from memory, if you watch the video you may find I’ve misremembered slightly):

    “How many performance artists does it take to change a light bulb?”
    “I don’t know, I’ve only been here six hours.”

    It’s not worth watching for the joke but it’s great to hear Abramović talking about her work (with Iwona Blazwick, Director of the Whitechapel Gallery) not least because she turns out to be far less scary and much more personable than I would ever have expected:

  6. And trying to think of art that makes me laugh – and I’d agree with Martin Parr and Elliott Erwitt and possibly add (some of) Erwin Wurm’s One Minute Sculptures – I thought about my own blog. My impression is that I’m always saying I like work because it makes me laugh but a quick search on laugh throws up only a dozen posts: (perhaps inevitably one of them about Shrigley).

    One of the projects that properly makes me laugh is BANK’s Fax Bak Service: (again a link to my own blog: sorry!) but it’s very much art about art (or about the art world, anyway).

    • Ann, thank you so much!! Love the lightbulb joke! Will check out all the links (when I’ve got the tea on). Really, thanks for taking the time; much appreciated. 🙂

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