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The Alchemy of Comedy…Stupid

Tuesday, March 14, 2006–Saturday, May 13, 2006

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Featuring wildly popular comedian David Alan Grier on a lushly colored, multi-channel video, The Alchemy of Comedy…Stupid examines the nuances and structures, rapture and pathos of jokes, comedy routines and the relationship between performer and audience. By destabilizing our familiarity with the joke and its context, Edgar Arceneaux reveals existing but rarely acknowledged possibilities for unique, coherent meaning created from non-linear logic. The exhibition serves to highlight comedy as an alchemical process: its ability to turn pathos into entertainment and debased material into gold.

Intercut among the multiple screens are reconfigured video segments of Grier debuting poignantly difficult material, his interactions with audience members and awkward moments of anticipation or rumination. The video and a single-channel companion piece were shot in Chicago in May 2005, primarily on the University of Illinois at Chicago’s campus at the UIC Theater and the Science and Engineering Building, as well as a local Chicago bar. They and accompanying works in drawing and sculpture are the culmination of Gallery 400’s commission of the artist that was initiated in 2004. A catalogue documenting the project along with an essay by exhibition organizer Lorelei Stewart was published in Summer 2006.

Edgar Arceneaux has shown his drawings, sculptures, installations, and films in solo exhibitions at The Kitchen, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Kunstwerke, Berlin; UCLA Hammer Museum; the Studio Museum, New York; and Montgomery Gallery, Pomona College, among others. His work has been included in group exhibitions at Astrup Fearnley Museum of Art, Oslo; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco; Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston; Witte de With Museum, Rotterdam; Kunsthalle Basel; Bronx Museum, New York; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.

Arceneaux was the subject of an Artforum feature by Jeffrey Kastner in 2006 and featured in essays by Charles Gaines and Catrin Lorch in Afterall 10. Arceneaux’s books Lost Library and 107th Street Watts were published in 2003 by Kunstverein Ulm, Germany and Revolver, Frankfurt, respectively. Arceneaux lives and works in Los Angeles and is represented by Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects; Adamski Gallery for Contemporary Art, Aachen, Germany; and Galerie Kamm, Berlin.

Edgar Arceneaux’s The Alchemy of Comedy…Stupid received funding in the form of a 2005 Joyce Award from The Joyce Foundation. The Joyce Awards are presented annually to honor Midwest mainstream cultural organizations that commission works by artists of color in each of four genres: visual art, dance, music, and theater.

The catalogue was generously supported by Sara Szold. Special thanks to David Alan Grier and Cheryl Lynn Bruce for their talented contributions. The video was produced by Merc Arceneaux. Artist Ron Clark was its director of photography. The exhibition was additionally made possible by the Pasadena Arts and Culture Commission and the City of Pasadena Cultural Affairs Division; Artpace San Antonio; a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency; and the College of Architecture and the Arts, University of Illinois at Chicago. The Daryl Gerber Stokols and Jeff Stokols Fund provides general support to Gallery 400 programs.

The Alchemy of Comedy…Stupid was later featured at the 2008 Whitney Biennial.

Related:

Exhibition Checklist

Edgar Arceneaux

The Alchemy of Comedy…Stupid, 2005
Nine-channel DVD video with six-channel sound (played back on five flat-screen monitors, one wall projection, three projections on a three-sided sculpture, and three pairs of speakers), 33 min. unsynchronized loop

The Burning Bush, 2006
Carbon transfer on paper, 60 3/16 x 36 in.

Platonic Solid, 2006
Charcoal on cut paper, 36 x 33 in.

Platonic Solid, 2006
Charcoal on cut paper, 48 x 48 in.

Richard Burnt Up and Crippled, 2006
Silkscreen on paper, wood, canvas 106 1/2 x 96 1/2 in.

Triadic Form Projection Sculpture

Untitled (Wheelchair Drawing), 2006
Carbon transfer on paper, charcoal, oil paint, and wooden frame, 124 x 119 in.

Untitled Drawing, 2006
Carbon transfer drawing, 36 x 20 in.

EXHIBITION SUPPORT

The Alchemy of Comedy…Stupid is supported by a 2005 Joyce Award from the Joyce Foundation; the Pasadena Arts and Culture Commission and the City of Pasadena Cultural Affairs Division; Artpace San Antonio; the College of Architecture and the Arts, University of Illinois at Chicago; and a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency. The accompanying catalogue was generously supported by Sara Szold.

Special thanks to actors David Alan Grier and Cheryl Lynn Bruce for their talented contributions.

PRESS RELEASE

Edgar Arceneaux
The Alchemy of Comedy…Stupid

Gallery 400
Chicago, IL
March 14–May 13, 2006

Opening Reception: Wednesday, March 15, 2006, 5–8 pm

Centered on a lushly colored, multi-channel video featuring wildly popular comedian David Alan Grier, The Alchemy of Comedy…Stupid examines the nuances and structures, rapture and pathos of jokes, comedy routines and the relationship between performer and audience. By destabilizing our familiarity with the joke and its context, Arceneaux reveals existing but rarely acknowledged possibilities for unique, coherent meaning created from non-linear logic.

Intercut among the multiple screens are reconfigured video segments of Grier debuting poignantly difficult material, his interactions with audience members and awkward moments of anticipation or rumination. The video and a single-channel companion piece were shot in Chicago in May 2005 primarily on the UIC campus. They and accompanying works in drawing and sculpture are the culmination of Gallery 400 ’s commission of the artist initiated in 2004. A catalogue documenting the project and with an essay by exhibition organizer Lorelei Stewart will be published in Summer 2006.

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Edgar Arceneaux has shown his drawings, sculptures, installations, and films in solo exhibitions at The Kitchen, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Kunstwerke, Berlin; UCLA Hammer Museum; the Studio Museum, New York; and Montgomery Gallery, Pomona College, among others. His work has been included in group exhibitions at Astrup Fearnley Museum of Art, Oslo; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco; Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston; Witte de With Museum, Rotterdam; Kunsthalle Basel; Bronx Museum, New York; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Arceneaux ’s books Lost Library and 107th Street Watts were published in 2003 by Kunstverein Ulm, Germany and Revolver, Frankfurt, respectively. Arceneaux lives and works in Los Angeles and is represented by Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects; Adamski Gallery for Contemporary Art, Aachen and Galerie Kamm, Berlin.

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Edgar Arceneaux ’s The Alchemy of Comedy…Stupid is generously supported by a 2005 Joyce Award from the The Joyce Foundation. The Joyce Awards are presented annually to honor Midwest mainstream cultural organizations that commission works by artists of color in each of four genres: visual art, dance, music, and theater.

The forthcoming catalogue is generously supported by Sara Szold. Special thanks to David Alan Grier and Cheryl Lynn Bruce for their talented contributions. The video was produced by Merc Arceneaux. Artist Ron Clark was its director of photography. The exhibition is additionally made possible by the Pasadena Arts and Culture Commission and the City of Pasadena Cultural Affairs Division; Artpace San Antonio; a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency; and the College of Architecture and the Arts, University of Illinois at Chicago. The Daryl Gerber Stokols and Jeff Stokols Fund provides general support to Gallery 400 programs.

Gallery 400, founded in 1983, is the contemporary art exhibition space of the College of Architecture and the Arts at the University of Illinois at Chicago. As the nexus between a public education and research institution and Chicago ’s vibrant artistic scene, Gallery 400 focuses on supporting the creation of new work and the development of experimental models for multi-disciplinary and culturally diverse exhibition. In addition to its central exhibition program, Gallery 400 produces an ongoing visiting artists lecture series, workshops, tours, publications, and educational activities.

UIC ranks among the nation ’s top 50 universities in federal research funding and is Chicago ’s largest university with 25,000 students, 12,000 faculty and staff, 15 colleges and the state ’s major public medical center. A hallmark of the campus is the Great Cities Commitment, through which UIC faculty, students and staff engage with community, corporate, foundation, and government partners in hundreds of programs to improve the quality of life in metropolitan areas around the world. For more information about UIC, visit www.uic.edu.

EXHIBITION ESSAY

Edgar Arceneaux in Chicago

Judith Russi Kirschner

Mining the foundations of intellectual monuments such as the Great Library at Alexandria, Galileo ’s astronomy, or the more historically adjacent popular culture of Hollywood, Edgar Arceneaux ’s fecund permutations appear sui generis. The ideas that he synthesizes in his installations are only glancingly similar and become related in the never-ending flights of his artistic practice. For his project at Gallery 400 in Chicago on the campus of the University of Illinois, Arceneaux proved to be dramatically fluent and mesmerizing. The Alchemy of Comedy…Stupid fused all of Arceneaux ’s usual formal strategies and media: drawing, film, and video and emphasized the backstage work and process of conceptualization, rehearsal, and performance. Allegories of the cosmos, the universe and the classic idea of comedy can never be exhausted, yet Arceneaux ’s ambition is such that he collects enormous evidence and research to inform his rich orchestrations. Thematizing that acquisition of knowledge as key, he literally crafted new knowledge in Gallery 400, critically examined his own artistic agency, and gave the spotlight to the famous comedian David Alan Grier. An African-American man with the magnetism of stardom became the surrogate for the artist; a stand-up performance was the centerpiece of this expansive and unsettling work of social inquiry into the politics of cultural taboos.

In multiple locations on campus, at a bar, and in a student theater, Arceneaux directed Grier as he performed and perfected his monologue over and over again. If the artists/actors tired of this excess, their craftsmanlike demeanor revealed little exhaustion. But the live audiences, including students, staff, and faculty, who were obliged to respond, became sensitized to the transformative power of language. The repetition of unkind jokes whose targets included the crippled, gay, and elderly had the audience, coached by the artists, in tears…and in laughter.

Given the exceptional support of the Joyce Foundation ’s program to reinforce creativity and commission work from artists of color, Arceneaux displaced his aesthetic capital to cast a star as his subject and challenge all the post-modern pieties of political correctness rampant in the academy. With aesthetic subtlety, he pushed these messages right back in our faces on the monitors, reiterated in the enormous black and white charcoal drawing of singed wood in a wheelchair, with its evocation of Richard Pryor. We are very fortunate to have had Edgar on campus and thank him for this remarkable project.

A centerpiece of the College of Architecture and the Arts, Gallery 400 was established in 1983 and plays an important role in the overlapping cultural communities of Chicago and the nation. I am very grateful to Ellen Alberding and Sidney Sidwell of the Joyce Foundation for launching this large-scale work on a campus of a public university, educating and expanding the audiences for contemporary art. Trusting the guidance of Lorelei Stewart, Gallery 400 director and curator of the exhibition, the Joyce Foundation opened doors for the artist and our diverse student body, and high school students from the Alternative Schools Network who were given the opportunity to participate with a young artist behind the scenes as he developed his presentation. Both Edgar Arceneaux and Lorelei Stewart were model partners and mentors in this experimental, expansive production, as were actress Cheryl Lynn Bruce, director of photography Ron Clark, producer Merc Arceneaux Jr. and UIC professor Jennifer Reeder. Anthony Elms has been central to the editorial vision and publication of this catalogue. Finally, audience members in the rehearsals became self-reflective, shifting their positions so that in the final piece they were able to look over the shoulder of Grier and watch themselves as audience in video footage that recorded their response to his monologues. Sharing the stage with partners exemplifies the College ’s mission of exchange and accessibility, and just as The Alchemy of Comedy…Stupid works to transform our understanding of others, so too does the generosity of Sara Szold.

We are grateful for Sara Szold ’s early insightful recognition of Edgar Arceneaux. Her commitment to contemporary artists and to their education has made this significant catalogue available for additional audiences who will also appreciate the lessons gleaned from the artistic translation of alchemical possibilities at UIC ’s Gallery 400.

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(Exhibition Essay Title)

(Author)

I ’ll end with a song that’s yet to be written.
-David Alan Grier

How do we know things? What constitutes knowledge? What do the limits of knowledge mean? From the sense of linguistic word play in his early drawings to the refined combinations of conceptual references in recent large-scale installations, these are the axes around which Edgar Arceneaux’s work revolves. In some of his projects, knowledge and discourse are outright subjects of the work. In others, they are the structure and system.

Arceneaux’s formal repositionings, juxtapositions, repetitions, and occlusions, and his conceptual associations across history, geography, culture, class systems, and disciplines create non-linear associations of logic and open-ended formats that make what and how we know the very subject of our viewing. There is a way that Arceneaux makes us perceive that we are making sense of the works. Dense with images and conceptual associations, his installations slow us down and string us along. We have to make a commitment to interpretation, which puts us within the work and its processes, connecting its threads as we unravel the logic.

Arceneaux’s 2002 Rootlessness: Sugar Hill, A Heuristic Model (2002) proposes this interpretive necessity in its very title. Heuristic models are those in which you discover or learn something by yourself. In Rootlessness, a viewer navigates Arceneaux’s drawings of actors from Alex Haley’s 70s miniseries Roots, the actors’ images from other roles, and several sculptures created from crystallized sugar, including an upside down sugar-encrusted and ravaged copy of the book Roots. The genealogy of actors’ careers is refracted through the lens of Roots‘ persistent legacy. But the reliability of Roots‘ account of history is complicated by the actors’ reappearance in radically different roles and by the crystallized concealment of the book.

According to Arceneaux:

“Haley took this fractured history and made it whole, creating a linear bloodline all the way back to Africa. Politically it gives agency, which I can appreciate, but as at the same time that history and what came to be known as the idea of blackness in the U.S. became very, very rigid. So part of the project for me was trying to figure out a different way of constructing relationships” (1).

In the twin 2003 projects, Library as Cosmos and Library as Chaos, Arceneaux creates a matrix from Jorge Luis Borges’ “The Library of Babel,” Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose, the great library of Alexandria, chaos theory, cartography, and the Hollywood technique of matte painting. Chaos theory is a reasoned method for irrational and infinite resources, like Borges’ labyrinthian library (2). Both can be understood as responses that revealed the limits and determinates of existing systems of knowledge. In the Library projects, Arceneaux created multi-dimensional maps that send the viewer on trajectories by which forms of knowledge can be outlined and identified.

In The Alchemy of Comedy…Stupid, Arceneaux reveals most clearly what is at stake in this exploration of knowledge. Connecting the elusive book at the center of The Name of the Rose, Aristotle’s lost Book of Comedy, to elements from his 2004 film project Arrangement without Tormentors, which used a mathematical system to structure a filmic performance, Arceneaux has developed a project that turns the knowledge creation explored in previous works to the question of legacy explicitly investigated in Rootlessness but implicitly considered in all of Arceneaux’s installations.

Although as a starting point for Arceneaux’s project, Aristotle’s account of comedy is suitably incomplete and unreliable; Arceneaux never refers directly to this lost book. Instead, contemporary comedic forms interest him and structure the project. One such form is malapropism. As Arceneaux writes in his notes for the project, a malapropism is the “misuse of a word through confusion with another word that sounds similar, especially when the effect is ridiculous.” Such as Hollywood producer Samuel Goldwyn’s famous twists of phrase, like, “Why did you name him Sam? Every Tom, Dick and Harry is named Sam!” The misuse creates internal contradictions in the structure of the sentence, but somehow the statement is both funny and its intended logic is still clear. The basic structure of malapropisms are ones of paradox.

A second comedic concept of interest to Arceneaux is the cut. In stand-up routines the punch line comes as a cut that breaks the logic of the initially established narrative line of the joke. The cut occurs when the developing story is “smashed by another line of thinking.” Rodney Dangerfield was a classic punch line comedian. A Dangerfield joke, for example, goes “Oh, my wife loves vacations. The other night she told me, ‘I wanna go someplace I’ve never been before.’ I took her to a men’s room” (3). The punch line disrupts the system of the story, reversing it, or sidetracking it.

Arceneaux doesn’t use the cut as a mere punch line. His cut is filmic, logical, and aural. The Alchemy of Comedy… Stupid uses this effect as its aesthetic mode. The cut is a structural concept. It reveals how a joke works. The project seems to offer straightforward documentation of a comedy routine. Pictured repeatedly from screen to screen and projection to projection is David Alan Grier, the Hollywood actor, the proven comedic success and star of the classic and side-splittingly funny In Living Color. Arceneaux shot four performances of Grier performing new material in three different locations on three different nights in the spring of 2005. Two to three video cameras captured each performance. During the performances, on a regular pattern independent of the rhythm of Grier’s routine, the spotlights of the performance space shifted through a spectrum of deep saturated hues. The color could be said to correspond with emotional tones as well as to the four medieval humours (blood, black bile, yellow bile, phlegm) which also correspond to the four alchemical properties (air, earth, fire, water). The cameras circled Grier and weaved in and out of his audiences—audiences that grew exponentially in size over the three nights.

Similarly, Arceneaux emphasizes the complexity of Grier’s routine by editing several sound channels with significant sound breaks. One version of a story dealing with the relationship between Grier and his father cuts to silence abruptly after Grier says, “I remember I was crying.” A line from a cancer diagnosis story is isolated in the audio of the wall projection, “In the x-ray I saw it.” Stretches of routines can be heard to stop, then pick up soon thereafter in the middle of a following segment. Grier can be heard to start a routine several times. A few jokes stop mid-story. Others repeat in different forms from the different nights. But no version of a routine runs from start to finish. Arceneaux cuts the flow of the expected comedy routine with his own punch line: a non-narrative soundtrack.

In the exhibition space, the nine channels of video play on three different surfaces within an overall triangular configuration. In the foreground at the apex of the installation onto a triangular sculpture of cardboard screens are projected three views from the first night of Grier’s performances. Here, in the cavernous octagonal atrium of a generic university building, Grier debuted a new routine for next to no audience, just the video crew and a few randomly passing night custodians. The footage on one side of the sculpture spotlights Grier in profile. Another looks over his shoulder at the dark emptiness he faces. The third view is a bird’s eye on the margins in which a spectral character watches and sporadically comments. As the audience member who might not be paying attention or is criticizing Grier, this character could stand in for the comedian’s self-consciousness or his worst nightmare, the audience member who doesn’t laugh.

Beyond the triangular set of videos are the second and third nights of performance on two banks of video flatscreens. In the front row are two flatscreens on which Grier is shown in a cramped bar with lighting accoutrements and wiring strewn about him. Mimicking the distraction of the audience, some of whom watch Grier while others have conversations or play pool, one channel of footage follows Grier through the routine while the other tracks through the audience, across the pool table or down onto the floor. The second row of three flatscreens shows Grier on a traditional theater stage surrounded by a thick, close crowd. Two of the cameras track in, around, and through the crowd. The third gives us an aerial view. Looming large over these banks of monitors is a wall projection of Grier in close-up, running through the routine alone.

Jokes in general are often used to confront the difficult, disturbing, and distressing. One repeated joke involves a doctor’s visit and Grier’s cancer diagnosis. Heard clearly from beginning to end is a particularly funny impersonation Grier does of an ex-girlfriend’s best friend’s account of how exaggeratedly wonderful the ex-girlfriend’s new life is. Grier follows with a downtrodden wallow in the comparative miseries of his own life. There are other jokes with easy targets: Paris Hilton, Michael Jackson, new moms, San Francisco liberals. But Grier strikes a personal tone in many of the stories. His description of himself after the run-in with the ex-girlfriend’s best friend is mockingly self-deprecating, with perhaps a touch of a revealing depression. Grier plays that up in a cancer story. His gown doesn’t fully cover. The MRI technician mistakes him for a Wayans brother. When the crowd is close to him, expectation, concentration, skepticism, reaction, and collective laughter cross the faces of the spectators. But the story stays linear. It is uncomfortable. Until Grier undermines the mood.

A long section of the comedic routine, and one heard repeatedly in the soundtrack, is given to a very unfunny story relating a young Grier trying to cope with his parent’s divorce, and in particular his father’s absence. In an argument 10-year-old Grier had with his father, his father ends the discussion with, “Fatherhood is purely biological.” This key moment in Grier’s routine is isolated as a large rendering of handwritten text on the gallery wall. In the telling, this narrative moment is heartbreaking. As a simple statement, though, it is paradoxical. One could accept the father’s statement and say fatherhood is reducible to biology, if not for the pain the statement reveals. Later in his routine, Grier turns this bitter phrase into a punch line. He uses the very same line years later to deny his dad money, playing up a deep, cutting irony.

Within the installation this statement is a pivot point reinforced by two large works on paper. One entitled Richard, charred and burnt pictures a wheelchair with burning embers in the seat. Though Grier’s story about his father reveals that his father now uses a wheelchair, the charred person referred to in the title is Richard Pryor, a comedian who could be considered a father figure for the younger Grier. Pryor and Grier’s father are ghosts in the installation. They aren’t represented bodily; the wheelchair stands in for them. They have no voice; Grier represents his father’s voice and words. But they haunt the exhibition in their relationships to Grier, in the inheritance they have left to Grier.

In the second drawing a burning monk is pictured under lines of text from the Old Testament of the Bible. The text is from the story of Moses’s encounter with the paradoxical burning bush. “He gazed and there was a bush all aflame, yet the bush was not consumed.” The burning monk, too, is a paradox, especially when considered from a Christian faith. In a 1965 letter to Dr. Martin Luther King, the Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Nanh wrote:

“The press spoke then of suicide, but in the essence, it is not. It is not even a protest. … To burn oneself by fire is to prove that what one is saying is of the utmost importance… The importance is not to take one’s life, but to burn. What he really aims at is the expression of his will and determination, not death…. To express will by burning oneself, therefore, is not to commit an act of destruction but to perform an act of construction, i.e., to suffer and to die for the sake of one’s people. This is not suicide” (4).

But the text about the burning bush reveals another aspect of Arceneaux’s project in The Alchemy of Comedy… Stupid. Arceneaux has cut off the last part of the burning bush story. Moses gets close to the bush and God calls Moses’s name. To which Moses answers, “Here I am.” Arceneaux cuts the text off there and adds an ambiguous, “WHO ME” to the text, as though God is playing a joke on Moses. Or maybe it’s Moses’s joke. The missing part of the Old Testament text is, “Don’t come any closer. This is holy ground. I am the God of your Father”.

What Arceneaux does with The Alchemy of Comedy… Stupid is throw lineage, patrimony, and inheritance into question. “Fatherhood is purely biological” is an emotional lesson for a child. But fatherhood also can be understood as heritage, legacy, the history of knowledge. Here, the fatherhood of systems of knowledge or of intellectual inheritance isn’t biological, isn’t scientific. As with Roots and Aristotle’s lost Book of Comedy, legacy can be interrupted, diverted, misinterpreted, or rewritten. The history of knowledge has been marked by misconception and outright deception. But within the fragmented terrain of established knowledge are opportunities for transforming and expanding knowledge. We cannot deny our legacy, our inheritances, but we can determine how they get retold. Turn them into malapropisms or punchlines.

In the introduction to The Archeaology of Knowledge, Foucault poetically writes about his own method and the questions the reader will pose to him about what might be regarded as a change of method. He muses that the reader might ask, “Are you already preparing the way out that will enable you in your next book to spring up somewhere else and declare as you’re now doing: no, no, I’m not where you are lying in wait for me, but over here, laughing at you?” (5).

As answer to this rhetorical question, Foucault implies that he is preparing “a labyrinth into which I can venture, in which I can move my discourse, opening up underground passages, forcing it to go far from itself, finding overhangs that reduce and deform its itinerary, in which I can lose myself and appear at last to eyes that I will never have to meet again” (6). In other words, “Who me?” (7).

1. From a conversation between Edgar Arceneaux and Aimee Chang, January 30, 2003 as quoted in Aimee Chang, “Opening the Work,” in Edgar Arceneaux, Lost Library (Ulm, Germany: Kunstverein Ulm, 2003), 15.
2. The butterfly effect holds that a small change in the initial condition of the system causes a chain of events leading to large-scale phenomena. For example, the flapping of a butterfly ’s wings in Toyko might cause a tornado in Texas.
3. Rodney Dangerfield, Rodney ’s Archive: Joke Archive: Jokes for September 2006: September 17, http://www.rodney.com/rodney/archive/archive.asp, downloaded 9/28/06.
4. Thich Nhat Nanh. “In Search of the Enemy of Man (addressed to [the Rev.] Martin Luther King).” In Nhat Nanh, Ho Huu Tuong, Tam Ich, Bui Giang, Pham Cong Thien. Dialogue. Saigon: La Boi, 1965. pgs. 11-20, downloaded from African American Involvement in the Vietnam War, http://www.aavw.org/special_features/letters_thich_abstract02.html, 8/13/06. Dr. King nominated Thich Nhat Nanh for the Nobel Peace Prize in January 1967.
5. Michel Foucault, The Archeaology of Knowledge and the Discourse on Language, trans. A. M. Sheridan Smith, (New York: Pantheon Books, 1972), 12.
6. Ibid., 17.
7. Ibid.

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The Alchemy of Comedy… Stupid, March, 2006.

ARTIST BIOGRAPHY

Edgar Arceneaux Head ShotEdgar Arceneaux (born 1972) was born and lives and works in Los Angeles, California. As an artist, he takes advantage not only of his intellectual restlessness but also his wide-ranging technical adroitness, a mix of multidisciplinary skills—including drawing, photography, sculpture, and filmmaking—that figure into the unorthodox installation scenarios he has developed and refined over the last decade. He has had solo exhibitions at Kunstverein Ulm, Germany; Galerie Kamm, Berlin; Frehrkring Wiesehoefer, Cologne; Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects; Studio Museum, Harlem, New York; and Project, New York. Recent group shows include True Stories at the Witte de With, Rotterdam; Social Strategies: Redining Social Realism at University Art Museum, Santa Barbara, Urban Aesthetics at African American Museum of Art, Los Angeles, and One Planet Under a Groove at Bronx Museum, New York. He is current Executive Director of Watts House Project, a non-profit organization based across the street from the historic Watts Towers. Edgar Arceneaux received a BFA from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California and an MFA from California Institute of Arts in Valencia, California. In addition, he has studied at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine and at the Fachhochschule Aachen in Germany.

The Alchemy Of Comedy Stupid

Edgar Arceneaux: The Alchemy of Comedy…Stupid Starring David Alan Grier

Catalogue essays by Judith Russi Kirschner and Lorelei Stewart
Gallery 400, the College of Architecture and the Arts,
University of Illinois at Chicago and WhiteWalls, Inc, 2006
96 pp., 5.5 x 8.5 in., with color reproductions

This catalogue can be purchased for $20.00 plus shipping by calling Gallery 400 at 312-996-6114.

MEDIA COVERAGE

Artner, Alan G. “Multichannel Video Work Is Lacking a Punch Line.” Chicago Tribune, April 12, 2006.

Bush, Haydn. “The Silence of Standup.” Chicago Journal, March 29, 2006.

Ranallo, Anne Brooks. “UIC Has Starring Role in Video about Comedy.” UIC Campus News (online edition), March 8, 2006.

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