Humor Arts Museum
Uplifting Humorous Art In All Media
Feb 14 - April 30, 2023
Karen E. Gersch
May 1 - June 30, 2023
Karen E. Gersch
Contemporary Sculpture & Photography
February 14 - April 30, 2023 | Curator Karen E. Gersch
Virtual Reception, Sunday, March 5
Having already sauntered through time and history in our second exhibition for HAM, I ambled ahead to the present, concentrating on modern day artists in two specific genres. I found four exceptional humorists who happen to work in wood, earthenware and resin, and five photographers of note with a penchant for uplifting or comedic visions. Their choice of media and styles may differ, but all are craftsman of a high order, and all possess a splendid sense of fun and funny in varying degrees. Enjoy the texts that describe or explain their process and motivations for their work. And scroll down to read even more about each artist, or to connect with their social media sites.
CHEERS! Have a giggle on me!
Karen E. Gersch
Photo courtesy of Karen E. Gersch
Newlyweds in Rome, 1980
Silver halide print | 8 x 10" unframed | $75 | Buy
I was using a new lens attachment that, like a periscope, allowed me to take photos surreptitiously at 90 degree angles. I'd spent 20 minutes shooting this adoring couple, while Luigi was becoming increasingly puzzled as to why this crazy-haired young photographer was captivated by a collection of nearby garbage bins!
Oh Happy Day, 2020
Earthenware, glaze | 12 x 7 x 3" | $300 | Buy
This mask expresses the feeling one can have upon waking: 'Oh, there is another beautiful day dawning - what a wonder it is to be alive in this world with my friends and family!'
Garfunkel and Oates
American comedy folk duo Riki Lindhome (Garfunkel) and Kate Micucci (Oates) have been described as "pretty girls with dirty mouths", and are known for their raucous blend of comedic commentary, folk pop and clever lyrics.
Shopping for Mr. Right, 2005
This piece was inspired by a friend's suggestion that she create a piece about dating or a single woman's challenges in looking for a mate.
Private Keep Out, 1972
Every self-respecting cat has a clubhouse - members always restricted!
6.5' | NFS
This restoration for the Philadelphia Toboggan Co. was more of a total rebuild of the popular circa 1930's sculpture. Over time, it had deteriorated into a pile of paper mache mush. Yorburg recarved it in wood reproducing the costume based on old photos, and fully re-sculpted the hands. Sal's little sign reads: 'Drop in a Nickle - Give Her a Tickle'.
As I do my morning and evening walks along the Hudson River, there are always little snippets of life that catch my eye. With my phone at the ready, I capture these snippets. Some get deleted and some get stored, and I continue my walk.
Tillie, the Bag Lady Frog
Polymer with crushed marble, hand patina'd | NFS
This charming painted cartoon-like creature was produced for a mail-order company, and was the foundry's second best seller.
Did You Hear?, 2019
Vazquez captures a moment we all know well: that of secrets intimately shared.
Black & white photo | NFS
Legendary physical comedian Carl began his career in vaudeville and circus. His signature props were simply a microphone, stand and hat. It was his first television appearance in 1985 on the Johnny Carson show (at the age of 69) that made him a big star and movie attraction.
3' | NFS
A European-inspired, carved and multi-layered Baroque nightlight (and YES, it works)! This scupture was part of the "Art of Balance" Circus Exhibition that Gersch curated at a cultural center in Beacon in 2018.
A NYC Faux-Christian acoustic music and comedy duo; composed of Wilson Hall, aka Jeremiah Smallchild and Kristen Johnson (Gideon Lamb). Their humor is clearly up-lifting.
Broke but Not Broken, 2020
Created from a rather thin slab of clay, this piece broke during the firing. Mounting it on a board with the cracks showing was my solution. It implies that one can recover from difficulties and live a happy, confident life.
Stanley Allen Sherman
The man behind the mask is its creator. Sherman is one of the foremost mask makers in the country and as a mime, knows well how to wear one!
A gentle reminder of all those who remain marginalized in our society: the elderly, the disabled, people of color, women and the overweight.
Sleeping Don Juan, Cuenca, Ecuador, 2015
Ecuador's Andean climate is temperate all year round, which makes for a culture where life is lived outside, in full view. The Central Square in each town is an entertaining place to watch life unfold before your eyes... and your camera lens!
Gavioli-style Band Organ
4' x 5' x 3'| NFS
Yorburg styled this beautifully toned small band organ after a "Gavioli" design. Giacomo Gavioli was a Franco-Italian inventor from the 1800's who developed some of the first automated musical instrument players. His sons, grandsons and great-grandsons continued the business, and the company flourished for more than a century, providing many elaborate musical creations to fairgrounds, museums and private collections. Although all Yorburg's works pictured here are NFS, they serve as examples of his custom craftwork that can be commissioned as art pieces, signs and architectural carvings.
Fransham is a popular New Zealand comedian, described as "very tall and mouth-wateringly handsome" on IMDb and LinkedIn. One can assume his humor is wickedly on pointe.
The Glass Ceiling, 2008
Despite some progress, invisible barriers still exist preventing women, people of color, and other qualified individuals from rising in their careers and vocations.
Hurry Up and Feed Me!, 2020
Belitza-Vazquez captured the constant feedings of her backyard baby birds by its diligent parents. These young feathered ones are as demanding as any toddler!
No Respect, 2019
"After this mask was made, I saw the resemblance to comedian Rodney Dangerfield. Those popping eyes made me laugh!"
"A mere ninety miles from the Florida Keys, lies the most exotic country I've ever visited - a country still running on horsepower; no BMW's parked in driveways! And in Trinidad - a colonial town in central Cuba - horses are the primary source of transportation."
Polymer with crushed marble | 5.5 x 3 x 2" | NFS
Ross's small sculptures are elegant, but also exude a touch of quirkiness.
There is a phantom-like quality to both Rogers' images; the just-missed presence of an invisible force that's left its mark: whether a trail of feet or the rocking of empty swings in the night.
Carved wood and paint | 4' | NFS
In the style of William Denzel (considered the DaVinci of the Carousel world), Yorburg hand carved and painted this stunning rabbit with unique trappings. A fine example of Yorburg's specialized expertise in carving and creating from scratch larger-than-life-sized carousel creatures.
Seth in Bloom
Seth Bloom and Christina Gelsone form the celebrated physical comedy duo "Acrobuffos", which they founded in 2005 to entertain globally through wordless shows. They perform in international street festivals, full length productions in major theaters and - as seen here - with the Big Apple Circus.
Bronze with polymer | 4 x 1.5 x 3" | NFS
This figure is reminiscent of a 2,500 year old Egyptian cave carving of an acrobat.
Maria Reads A Book
From a live show at Coney Island USA in 2022, Moore caught this shot of Filipino-American puppeteer Maria Camia from one of her original and dazzling full length productions.
Good Spirit, 2018
"I read a scientific book titled "The Secret Life of Trees" that made me realize their importance. The bark-like texture with a suggested face honors trees and how they support all life on earth. This type of mask is called a "tree spirit".
I Found a Friend, Mom!, 2020
This young one's first flight from its nest saw it land next to a sculpted bird decoration on a small birdbath. It truly appears to be conversing with the other occupant - a bird made of stone!
Summer Must Read, 2009
A familiar view from those lazy, crazy, hazy days of summer! Nothing like a beach scene in the heart of winter! Luckily, that tsunami-like wave is frozen in action!
Leave: Janeane Garafola
The perfect portrait of American Comedienne Janeane Garafola. Her biting wit and comic sensibilities have garnered her roles in more than fifty feature films and popular television series like Saturday Night Live, The Ben Stiller and Larry Sanders shows.
Color photo | 8 x 10" unframed | $75
Taken at Rescue Biosphere, Cueneca, Ecuador; Hershey nicknamed this shot: "Oh Man, I forgot your birthday!"
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Ross began his career as a teen apprentice in his uncle’s costume jewelry business on the lower East Side. After serving in the Korean War, he was employed by his older brother - another jeweler - and first introduced to techniques using liquid plastic methods: polymer and resin. Ross learned to simulate any material in resin, from terra cotta to ivory and stone. After years of study and practice, he launched his own company and business, with the Metropolitan Museum of Art serving as an early and longtime client. Since then, Ross has also created volumes of work for the the New York Historical Society, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, New York University and the Brooklyn Museum. A few of the sculptures seen here are hand shaped prototypes for figures that were cast and sold in the gift shops of these museums.
A lifelong explorer and practitioner, making art has always been something Weber has embraced and returned to. As a ceramic sculptor, working with clay has proven a fun and challenging method of expression. Masks from different cultures have informed and guided his direction of mask making. Inspired by much time spent hiking in the woods, his early mask creations gave bark texture human-like faces. From there, the masks evolved into experiments with color and form and a variety of emotions.
A native of Buffalo and daughter of a tailor and seamstress, Geneslaw - not surprisingly - began her creative life as a fiber artist. A longtime interest in the sculpture of naivete and outsider artists led to her own experiments with knives and basswood. Now an award-winning and much celebrated carver, she uses humor to explore social and political themes. As Geneslaw notes: ” The human condition continues to provide endless material for my commentary”. Perhaps the NYTimes tagged her best in a review of her work that appeared in a 1999 review: “ Ruth Geneslaw: Visual Puns Set in Folk Art Sculpture”.
Yorburg’s fascination with turn-of-the-19th-century Amusement Arts began as a child. He learned woodworking and design skills from his father and grandfather, both of whom were furniture builders. Continuing his studies at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, Parson’s, and the Institute of Architectural and Urban Studies, he earned a BA from Wesleyan University. Yorburg is one of the foremost and trusted restorers of carousels and band organs in the country.
“Travel, photography, film and Chinese Medicine all have, for me, a shared appeal: they allow me a heightened sense of connection with something larger than myself. They connect me with people I don’t know - to people not like me - to a world beyond my backyard. It’s a connection that nourishes me just as much as the sun on my skin and the food on my plate”.
In addition to cinema, photography, film and documentary editing, Ron is a licensed acupuncturist with a thriving healing practice for the past 25 years: East Mountain Acupuncture in Croton-on-Hudson. A professional lensman with wander lust, he has specialized in travel photography since the early 1980’s.
http://funnybusiness.bigcartel.com (to order books)
Olenick has been chronicling famous funny people for decades. He moved to Brooklyn from his native L.A. in 1997 and began shooting punk rock bands throughout the city, before interning for several years at Hellcat Records. He’s been the Photo Editor of Heeb Magazine, and his images have appeared in Rolling stone, Newsweek, The Wall St. Journal, Esquire, Playboy, Penthouse, and other top publications. His portrait series of celebrities and big names from L.A. and N.Y. comedy scenes eventually evolved into a hardcover book “Funny Business”, published in 2013. Olenick now calls Newburgh, NY his home, although he still travels across the country on photography assignments. Look for an upcoming SOLO SHOW of his comedy portraits on HAM - July 1st - August 13th.
Belitza-Vazquez, a multi award-winning, internationally recognized artist, has been hooked on photography since grade school! She holds a Masters in Cultural Anthropology from the University of the Americas (Puebla, Mexico), but has toured the world more as a professional photographer, inspired by both the beauty of nature and those man-made objects that define global cultures. Unable to travel during the Pandemic, she turned her attention to her backyard residents: small animals and feathered ones. She was able to watch and record the birth and development of baby wrens and sparrows at close proximity.
Rick is a nocturnal marauder of the Hudson Valley, well known in his hometown of Beacon, NY, for his bicycle rides before dawn and in the wee hours of night. He thinks nothing of cycling as far as Poughkeepsie or New Paltz to snap scenic images along the way. His longtime Beacon studio, where he also paints (landscapes and signs), sits directly above a river.
(also on Instagram and LinkedIn)
The undisputed top archivist of contemporary vaudevillians and variety performers in NYC, Moore has been documenting shows and artists for half a century, both in studio portraits or attending live performances. His popular blog and video site “VaudeVisuals” features filmed interviews that offer viewers a biographical and humorous window into the lives and careers of his subjects. He has published four books of his work and is currently finishing one on world renowned magician Jeff Sheridan.