For years, Sara Greenberger Rafferty has been incorporating elements of standup comedy and theories on humor into her interdisciplinary studio practice. Through video, sculpture, experimental photography, and more, she interrogates power structures by laying bare their architectural elements that—while not necessarily funny themselves—are laughable.
A decade ago, I was a graduate student at Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA) in Portland, OR and I was struggling to articulate why injecting contemporary art with jolts of comedy was a germane political approach. While it seems natural, presently, that the fields of art and comedy make familiar bedfellows, there wasn't as robust a conversation about this in 2007. Thankfully, PNCA brought Sara Greenberger Rafferty through as a guest artist and I was fortunate to receive a studio visit with her. She spoke confidently about the parallels between artists and comedians in that they challenge, nurture, and educate their audiences. She encouraged me to shake off the anxiety I felt about whether or not good art could be entertaining. We've kept in touch and she's been a sort of de facto mentor of mine for years. In 2015, we collaborated to produce her two-volume book project Women Aren't Funny through my publishing label Social Malpractice.
Since June of this year, I've been recording, producing, and distributing a weekly podcast that tackles these same concerns called Humor and the Abject. Sara Greenberger Rafferty was somebody that I knew I had to invite on as a guest, and I'm thrilled to share this episode with everyone. Whether you're an art collector, an established artist, or an art student, her perspective will prove insightful, informative, and funny. If you enjoy the episode, please subscribe to the podcast and share it with others who are looking for these types of conversations—ones that I didn't see archived anywhere else effectively. Thus far, I've had the privilege of interviewing artists, comedians, and writers like Michael Smith, Azikiwe Mohammed, Chloe Wise, Amelia Gray, Jaboukie Young-White, Ana Fabrega, and Casey Jane Ellison. The guest list for 2018 is looking fantastic, and I can't wait to share new conversations on art and comedy with everyone. Thanks for listening.