A monthly column, Funny Feminism features conversations with and about feminist-identifying artists who use humor in their creative work.
“Laugh-in: Art, Comedy, Performance explores the recent turn toward comedic performance in contemporary art. The exhibition features twenty artists who engage the strategies and themes of stand-up comedy as a means to rethink questions of artistic performativity, audience participation, and public speech.“
—Jill Dawsey, Associate Curator, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego
Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with Laugh-in’s curator, Jill Dawsey about the group exhibit and its feminist inclinations. The show opened at MCASD on January 23rd and runs through April 19th.
Cathy de la Cruz: Can you tell me about Laugh-in, and how the show relates to feminism and comedy?
Jill Dawsey: I’m pleased that you picked up on the feminist aspect of the show. The broader theme is artists who are thinking about stand-up comedy, borrowing from the strategies and aesthetics of stand-up. It has to do with a lot of things: questions of public speech and communication and finding audiences, and what can and can’t be said at this moment in time.
One of the larger threads that runs throughout the show is the way that comedy can create a space in which hierarchies can be inverted and power relations can be challenged. There are many women artists in the show and there’s a lot of explicitly feminist work.