Double Act: Art and Comedy

Event Date July 31, 2016 – April 9, 2016

Location – Bluecoat (Liverpool) and MAC (Belfast)

This major exhibition will explore how comedy is important in shaping meaning, and how it can help us negotiate the complexities of everyday life. What we find funny can be cruel and hateful, it can establish symbolic boundaries that divide people into distinct groups, setting those with power against those without and vice-versa. But it is also a way of binding people together; providing consolation, a sense of shared experience and a powerful weapon of resistance.

As the title suggests, the exhibition itself is a ‘double act’ and will be held at two venues, Bluecoat and MAC, with each venue presenting a different line up of artists simultaneously.

  • The exhibition at the Bluecoat runs from 8 April – 19 June 2016, and artists being presented there include: Bill Woodrow, Mel Brimfield, Peter Land, Common Culture, Bank, Gemma Marmalade, Jo Spence and Terry Dennett, Sarah Lucas, Maurice Doherty, Alex Bag, Thomas Geiger, David Sherry, Erica Eyres, Peter Finnemore, Kara Hearn, Pilvi Takala.

  • The exhibition at the MAC runs from 6 May – 31 Jul 2016 and artists being presented there include: Olav Westphalen, Bas Jan Ader, Jonathan Monk, Adrian Paci, Cory Arcangel, Erwin Wurm, Richard Hughes, Mel Brimfield, Paul McCarthy, Joachim Schmid, Common Culture, Richard Wentworth, Keith Coventry, Michael Smith, John Smith, Terry Atkinson, Maurice Doherty and Julian Rosefeldt.

Double Act will present the multiple forms of the comedic as it is manifest through the experience of contemporary art. Drawing together artists from diverse cultural and political contexts, each of whom share an interest in humour as a resource with which to animate their art practice and connect with an audience, both local and international, this exhibition will explore questions of cultural distinctiveness in an increasingly globalised world.

The curators, David Campbell and Mark Durden, are founding members of the artists’ group Common Culture. This project stems from explorations in their own work of the comedic impulse within contemporary British culture and is part of the MAC’s Guest Curator Programme.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a new book, Double Act: Art and Comedy specially designed by Lawn Creative in Liverpool. The book will be launched on June 8, 2016 at Bluecoat as part of a panel discussion with artists Gemma Marmalade and Mel Brimfield and curators Mark Durden and David Campbell – with performances throughout the evening by David Sherry.

Related Events and Links

Fri 8 Apr Exhibition Launch
Join us for the launch of Double Act. Mingle with the artists, have a drink at the bar, and take in the atmosphere.

Sat 9 Apr Exhibition Tour: David Campbell and Mark Durden
Exhibition curators, David Campbell and Mark Durden lead a tour of the exhibition.

Sat 28 May Exhibition Tour: Cathy Butterworth
Performer, curator and researcher in Live Art practices, Cathy Butterworth leads a tour of Double Act.

Wed 8 June Book Launch & Panel Discussion
Artists Gemma Marmalade and Mel Brimfield join curators Mark Durden and David Campbell to celebrate the launch of the Double Act: Art and Comedy limited edition publication.

Read This is Tomorrow’s review of Double Act

Image credit: David Sherry, 'Red Sauce/Brown Sauce Mania’ (2013) Courtesy of the Artist.