“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.