Art can be many things -- revelatory, disconcerting, numinous, insert your preferred highbrow art critic adjective here -- but it can also be really goddamn funny once everybody drops the aloof pretenses the art world demands. While art that provokes both laughter and discomfort is nothing new, mash-up culture’s frenzied hybridization of style and intent has rendered distinctions between high and low art even more irrelevant than a century ago, when the Dadaists gave the finger to nose-upturned elites. In this sense, British artist David Shrigley is very much a product of his time. Shrigley’s work spans many media, fusing painting, animation, advertising, sculpture, photography, and music into an all-consuming gravitational singularity of form and function. In his latest exhibition, "David Shrigley: Brain Activity," the artist invites viewers to step through a portal to an unnerving world where crude comedic sketches stand beside abstract deconstructions of sculpture, while installations juxtapose the scale of objects to uncanny effect. There’s an existential absurdism to Shrigley’s work that calls back to Samuel Beckett and the Dadaists, but there’s also plenty of Terry Gilliam, The Simpsons, and I Can Has Cheezburger roiling around in there as well.
Fri., June 22, 8 p.m., 2012