Edgar Arceneaux

Edgar Arceneaux

Gallery 400, University of Illinois at Chicago

March 18, 2006

The Alchemy of ComedyStupid
Edgar Arceneaux

March 14 to May 13, 2006

Gallery 400
College of Architecture and the Arts
University of Illinois at Chicago
1240 West Harrison Street
Chicago, IL 60607


Centered on a lushly colored, multi-channel video featuring wildly popular comedian David Alan Grier, The Alchemy of ComedyStupid examines the nuances and structures, rapture and pathos of jokes, comedy routines and the relationship between performer and audience. By destabilizing our familiarity with the joke and its context, Arceneaux reveals existing but rarely acknowledged possibilities for unique, coherent meaning created from non-linear logic.

Intercut among the multiple screens are reconfigured video segments of Grier debuting poignantly difficult material, his interactions with audience members and awkward moments of anticipation or rumination. The video and a single-channel companion piece were shot in Chicago in May 2005 primarily on the UIC campus. They and accompanying works in drawing and sculpture are the culmination of Gallery 400s commission of the artist initiated in 2004. A catalog documenting the project and with an essay by exhibition organizer Lorelei Stewart will be published in Summer 2006.

Edgar Arceneaux has shown his drawings, sculptures, installations and films in solo exhibitions at The Kitchen, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Kunstwerke, Berlin; UCLA Hammer Museum; the Studio Museum, New York; and Montgomery Gallery, Pomona College, among others. His work has been included in group exhibitions at Astrup Fearnley Museum of Art, Oslo; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco; Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston; Witte de With Museum, Rotterdam; Kunsthalle Basel; Bronx Museum, New York; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Arceneauxs books Lost Library and 107th Street, Watts were published in 2003 by Kunstverein Ulm, Germany and Revolver, Frankfurt, respectively. Arceneaux lives and works in Los Angeles and is represented by Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects; Adamski Gallery for Contemporary Art, Aachen and Galerie Kamm, Berlin.

Edgar Arceneauxs The Alchemy of ComedyStupid is generously supported by a 2005 Joyce Award from the The Joyce Foundation. The Joyce Awards are presented annually to honor Midwest mainstream cultural organizations that commission works by artists of color in each of four genres: visual art, dance, music and theater.

The forthcoming catalog is generously supported by Sara Szold. Special thanks to David Alan Grier and Cheryl Lynn Bruce for their talented contributions. The video was produced by Merc Arceneaux. Artist Ron Clark was its director of photography. The exhibition is additionally made possible by the Pasadena Arts and Culture Commission and the City of Pasadena Cultural Affairs Division; Artpace San Antonio; a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency; and the College of Architecture and the Arts, University of Illinois at Chicago. The Daryl Gerber Stokols and Jeff Stokols Fund provides general support to Gallery 400 programs.

Gallery 400, founded in 1983, is the contemporary art exhibition space of the College of Architecture and the Arts at the University of Illinois at Chicago. As the nexus between a public education and research institution and Chicagos vibrant artistic scene, Gallery 400 focuses on supporting the creation of new work and the development of experimental models for multi-disciplinary and culturally diverse exhibition. In addition to its central exhibition program, Gallery 400 produces an ongoing visiting artists lecture series, workshops, tours, publications, and educational activities.

UIC ranks among the nations top 50 universities in federal research funding and is Chicagos largest university with 25,000 students, 12,000 faculty and staff, 15 colleges and the states major public medical center. A hallmark of the campus is the Great Cities Commitment, through which UIC faculty, students and staff engage with community, corporate, foundation and government partners in hundreds of programs to improve the quality of life in metropolitan areas around the world. For more information about UIC, visit www.uic.edu

For further information, please contact:
Lorelei Stewart, Director
or Anthony Elms, Assistant Director
312-996-6114 tel
312-355-3444 fax


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Gallery 400, University of Illinois at Chicago
March 18, 2006

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