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Humor

The four artists profiled in Humor have been influenced by the history of humor and comedy, including vaudeville, cartoons, and comic books. The artists in this hour reveal how humor and satire can stimulate laughter as well as serve as a vehicle to explore serious subjects, such as feminism, the natural environment, the excesses of consumer culture, social injustice, and war. Filmed on location in San Diego, California; Hermosa Beach, California; New York, New York; and Great Barrington, New York.

More information and credits

Credits

Created by: Susan Sollins & Susan Dowling. Executive Producer & Curator: Susan Sollins. Series Producer: Eve-Laure Moros Ortega. Associate Producer: Migs Wright. Assistant Curator: Wesley Miller. Production Manager: Alice Bertoni & Laura Recht. Production Coordinator: Kelly Shindler & Sara Simonson. Director of Education & Outreach: Jessica Hamlin. Producer: Catherine Tatge. Editor: Steven Wechsler. Host Segment Artist: Charles Atlas. Host: Margaret Cho. Host Segment Guest: Bruce Daniels. Director of Photography: Bob Elfstrom, Mead Hunt, Ken Kobland, Kirk Miller, & Joel Shapiro. Sound: Tom Bergin, Doug Dunderdale, Richard Fleming, Judith Karp, Mark Mandler, Martyn Truman, & Bill Wander. Gaffer/Grip: Ned Hallick, Cricket Peters, Andrew Wilson, & Jesse Wine. Assistant Camera: Jarred Alterman, Craig Feldman, Brian Hwang, & Kipjaz Savoie. Production Assistant: Eric Kutner, Ronny Merdinger, Dawn Watson, & Pamela Whidden. Assistant Avid Editors: Julie Farol, Geoff Gruetzmacher, Daniel Nelson, & Jeremy Siefer. Still Photography: Alice Bertoni & Bob Elfstrom.

Creative Consultant: Ed Sherin. Graphic Design & Animation: Open, New York. Animation, Visual Effects & Compositing: Spontaneous Combustion. On-Line Editor: Don Wyllie & Frame:Runner NYC. Composer: Peter Foley. Voice-Over Artist: Jace Alexander. Sound Editing: Margaret Crimmins, Greg Smith, & Dog Bark Sound. Sound Mix: Tony Volante & Soundtrack F/T. Animation Stand: Frank Ferrigno & Frame:Runner NYC.

Artworks courtesy of: Eleanor Antin; Walton Ford; Elizabeth Murray; Raymond Pettibon; Electronic Arts Intermix, New York; Ronald Feldman Fine Arts; Paul Kasmin Gallery; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Regen Projects, Los Angeles; & David Zwirner Gallery.

Special Thanks: The American Museum of Natural History; The Art21 Board of Trustees; Jamie Bennett; Andrea and Eric Colombel; Cate Ellison; Bruce Gluck; Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona; PaceWildenstein; Sallie Slate; Karen Taussig; Jonathan Turer; & Wingate Studio.

Interns: Sharon Ber, Elana Davidian, Eliza Geddes, Karmin Guzder, Ehren Joseph, Lisa Kalikow, Lila Kanner, Crystal Kui, Daniela Leonard, Ronny Merdinger, Parth Savla, Kristen Smith, Whitney Smith, Morgan Soloski, Jo-ey Tang, Asya Varshishky, Jesse Whittle-Utter, & Jeremy Zilar.

Public Relations: Kelly & Salerno Communications. Legal Counsel: Albert Gottesman. Bookkeeper: William Handy.

Major underwriting for “Art in the Twenty-First Century” Season Two provided by: National Endowment for the Arts; Public Broadcasting Service; Corporation for Public Broadcasting; The Allen Foundation for the Arts; Agnes Gund and Daniel Shapiro; Bloomberg; The Jon and Mary Shirley Foundation; Nonprofit Finance Fund; JPMorgan Chase; The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation; New York Arts Recovery Fund; Peter Norton Family Foundation; New York Times Company Foundation; Dorothea L. Leonhart Foundation; & Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation.

Closed captionsAvailable in English, German, Romanian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Italian

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Licensing

Interested in showing this film in an exhibition or public screening? To license this video please visit Licensing & Reproduction.

Stream full episodes and segments from the new season of Art in the Twenty-First Century. Watch now.

Charles Atlas

Charles Atlas is a filmmaker and video artist who has created numerous works for stage, screen, museum, and television. Atlas is a pioneer in the development of media-dance, a genre in which original performance work is created directly for the camera. Many of Atlas’s works have been collaborations with choreographers, dancers, and performers, including Yvonne Rainer, Michael Clark, Douglas Dunn, Marina Abramovic, Diamanda Galas, John Kelly, and Leigh Bowery. Atlas acted as Consulting Director for “Art in the Twenty-First Century” (Seasons 2 through 5), creating the original opening programs for each hour-long segment of Season 2, as well as supervising the “Stories,” “Loss and Desire,” “Memory,” “Play,” “Protest,” and “Paradox” episodes.

Eleanor Antin

An influential performance artist, filmmaker, and installation artist, Eleanor Antin delves into history—whether of ancient Rome, the Crimean War, the salons of nineteenth-century Europe, or her own Jewish heritage and Yiddish culture—as a way to explore the present. Antin is a cultural chameleon, masquerading in theatrical or stage roles to expose her many selves. Her most famous persona is that of Eleanora Antinova, the tragically overlooked black ballerina of Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. Appearing as Antinova in scripted and non-scripted performances for over a decade, Antin has blurred the distinction between her identity and that of her character. In the process, she has created a rich body of work, detailing the multiple facets of her beloved Antinova, including a fictitious memoir and numerous films, photographs, installations, performances, and drawings.

Elizabeth Murray

A pioneer in painting, Elizabeth Murray’s distinctively shaped canvases break with the art-historical tradition of illusionistic space in two-dimensions. Jutting out from the wall and sculptural in form, Murray’s paintings and watercolors playfully blur the line between the painting as an object and the painting as a space for depicting objects. Breathing life into domestic subject matter, Murray’s paintings often include images of cups, drawers, utensils, chairs, and tables. These familiar objects are matched with cartoonish fingers and floating eyeballs—macabre images that are as nightmarish as they are goofy. Taken as a whole, Murray’s paintings are abstract compositions rendered in bold colors and multiple layers of paint, but the details of the paintings reveal a fascination with dream states and the psychological underbelly of domestic life.

Raymond Pettibon

A cult figure among underground music devotees for his early work associated with the Los Angeles punk rock scene, Raymond Pettibon has acquired an international reputation as one of the foremost contemporary American artists working with drawing, text, and artist’s books. Pettibon is as likely to explore the subject of surfing as he is typography; themes from art history and nineteenth-century literature appear in the same breath as 1960s American politics and contemporary pop culture. In the 1990s, Pettibon extended his work beyond the printed page and onto the walls of the exhibition space, creating wall-size drawings and collages.

Walton Ford

Blending depictions of natural history with political commentary, Walton Ford’s meticulously painted large-scale watercolors satirize the history of colonialism and the continuing impact of slavery and other forms of political oppression on today’s social and environmental landscape. Each painting is as much a tutorial in flora and fauna as it is as a scathing indictment of the wrongs committed by nineteenth-century industrialists or—locating the work in the present—contemporary American consumer society.