Exhibition

Jayson Musson: His History of Art

July 22, 2022–December 31, 2022

Jayson Musson as “Jay” with “Ollie.” Jayson Musson, in collaboration with The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia, “His History of Art,” 2022. Photo credit: Carlos Avendaño.

“Wacky and profound” —The New York Times

“Raucous…a sidesplitting sitcom” —Artforum

Utilizing costuming, props, puppetry, and scenery created in collaboration with the FWM studio team, His History of Art debuts a new three-channel video series written, starred, and co-directed by Musson, who describes it as “a sitcom orbiting art history and all the fun to be had dancing on the minefield of the past.” Taking inspiration from the structure and tone of educational programs such as PBS children’s shows and nun-turned-art critic Sister Wendy Beckett, Musson conducts a satirical survey on art history, its relationship to the general public and the ways in which popular art historical images impact our cultural consciousness.

“Good humor always moves toward truth,” Musson explains. “This exposure of truth is what causes a joke to resonate with a listener and connect with their often-unspoken experiences and feelings. Jokes uncover, jokes expose, jokes bring into the light things which are oft buried by individuals and a society. Comedy’s propensity to dig up skeletons and parade them in front of an audience with little regard for consequence or moral constraint is one of the main reasons it has been a useful tool in exposing inequality and grand social failings.”

From 2010 to 2012, Jayson Musson became an internet sensation with ART THOUGHTZ. Over the course of 20 YouTube-based performances, Musson (through his character Hennessy Youngman) incisively satirized both pop culture and art “insiders,” exposing the elitism of the art world and critiquing contemporary art while offering new ways of understanding the cultural landscape he traversed. Ten years later, art institutions are re-examining their role and acknowledging the fault lines in their foundation. Yet at the same time, the fundamental instrument of validation in the art world—the field of art history—remains narrow in scope and entrenched in a Western, male-dominated canon. This will be the focus of Musson’s next cultural critique, with an approach that equally informs and interrogates through his signature humor and accessibility.

Location

The Fabric Workshop and Museum
Second Floor Gallery
1214 Arch Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107

Plan Your Visit

This exhibition is included with free general admission

Free Tickets

Film Credits

His History of Art (2022)
Written and Directed by Jayson Musson
Assistant Director: Scott Ross
Produced by All Ages Productions
Props and set by Jayson Musson in collaboration with The Fabric Workshop Museum


Art in This Exhibition


Artists in This Exhibition


Press

Where to See Art in Philly This Summer
Shaunice Ajiwe, Philadelphia Magazine, July 6, 2022

Jayson Musson’s “History of Art” is hilarious and educational
A.D. Amorosi, Metro Philadelphia, July 21, 2022

The Art Angle Podcast: Why Artist Jayson Musson Is Clowning a Humorless Art World
Ben Davis, Artnet, July 22, 2022

Jayson Musson explains art history as a sitcom at Philly’s Fabric Workshop and Museum
Peter Crimmins, WHYY, July 25, 2022

Art history as a sitcom: Jayson Musson serves up satire and nostalgia in Philadelphia exhibition
Osman Can Yerebakan, The Art Newspaper, July 27, 2022

A Bigger Canvas for Jayson Musson Includes Puppets and Picasso
Jillian Steinhauer, The New York Times, August 11, 2022

Interviews | PUPPET MASTER: The art world according to Jayson Musson
Sean J. Patrick Carney, Artforum, September 6, 2022

ArtSeen | Jayson Musson: His History of Art
Laurel V. McLaughlin, The Brooklyn Rail, September 7, 2022

Jayson Musson: ‘His History of Art’
Anna Chen, Penn Today, October 20, 2022

BARC The Dog at Deep Space Has Plenty of Bite
Tris McCall, Jersey City Times, October 21, 2022

Reviews | The Sesame Street of Art History
Isabella Segalovich, Hyperallergic, November 9, 2022


Downloadable Media and Related Links

Download the Press ReleaseDownload the Press Release


About the Artist

Jayson Scott Musson was born in the Bronx, NY in 1977. He received a BFA in photography from University of the Arts and an MFA in painting from the University of Pennsylvania, both in Philadelphia, also attending the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Skowhegan, ME in 2011. Musson is represented by Salon 94 in New York and Fleisher/Ollman in Philadelphia. His solo exhibitions include We Sing in A Dead Language, Zidoun-Bossuyt Gallery, Luxembourg City, Luxembourg (2019); Demon All Day, Salon 94 Freemans, New York (2017); The Truth in the Song, Fleisher/Ollman Gallery, Philadelphia (2016); The Grand Manner at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia (2011); and Too Black For BET, Dazed & Confused Magazine Gallery, London, England (2008). His work has been included in group exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art, Lisson Gallery, and Postmasters Gallery, New York; Whitechapel Gallery, London; Galerie Perrotin, Paris; Grimmuseum, Berlin; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; David Castillo Gallery, Miami; and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, among others.


About the Curator

The exhibition is organized by Project Coordinator Avery Lawrence and Interim Director of Exhibitions Alec Unkovic in collaboration with the artist, and was initiated by the originating curator Karen Patterson, FWM’s former Director of Exhibitions.


Support

Major support for Jayson Musson: His History of Art  has been provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, with additional support from The National Endowment for the Arts, The Wyncote Foundation, and All Ages Productions.

Major support of FWM is provided by the Marion Boulton “Kippy” Stroud Foundation. FWM receives state art funding support through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. Additional support is provided by Agnes Gund and the Board of Directors and Members of The Fabric Workshop and Museum.


Past Related Events

Reception
Opening Celebration: Jayson Musson: His History of Art
July 21, 2022, 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm

Workshop
First Friday: Why this, not that?
August 5, 2022, 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm

Workshop
Power Tees
August 21, 2022, 2:30 pm to 4:30 pm

Film Screening
A Night of Video Art Curated by Jayson Musson
September 9, 2022, 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Master Class
Puppet Making with Cedwan Hooks and his friend, Jayson Musson
September 17, 2022, 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm

Lecture + Workshop
Herstory of Art with Stephanie Santana
September 24, 2022, 2:30 pm to 4:30 pm

Virtual Master Class
Filmmaking for Artists—DIY Filmmaking Hacks with Director/Producer Scott J. Ross
September 29, 2022, 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm

Lecture + Workshop
Funny, but not Frivolous with Nina Katchadourian
October 14, 2022, 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm

Presentations + Workshop
POSTPONED—Storytellers of Art Histories with Alpesh K. Patel
October 18, 2022, 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm

Artist Talk + Reception
An Afternoon with Jayson Musson
October 21, 2022, 2:30 pm to 4:00 pm

Virtual Master Class + Workshop
Reinventing Humans with Comedy Writer David Sacks
November 13, 2022, 2:30 pm to 4:30 pm

Member Exclusive
Who Makes the Art Here, Anyway?
October 15, 2022, 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm