banana peel

Author: s1357934

Shona Macnaughton is one of four artists in the new exhibition at the National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh, the sixth and final instalment in the NOW series. While the show as a whole has much to commend it, the room documenting her performance of 2017, Progressive, is particularly intriguing. Introduced as relating to […]

Social media activity is frequently condemned by commentators for fostering an ‘instrumental mode of grasping the world as a collection of objects for control, consumption and accumulation’ (Schwarz 85) thus engendering an exploitative attitude to creativity and sociability. For Ori Schwartz for instance, ‘this exploitation of the present’ leads to ‘the constant search for valuable […]

Jeff Koon’s new sculpture, Bouquet of Tulips, which commemorates the victims of terror attacks in France in 2015 and 2016, has just opened in Paris. As is the case with most of his work, the piece has prompted considerable critical suspicion, largely about the purity of his intentions. Offered as a gift by the artist […]

Kara Walker’s Fons Americanus, a 13-metre fountain that references the legacies of the British empire and the transatlantic slave trade is the latest Turbine Hall commission at Tate Modern. Modelled on the Queen Victoria memorial outside Buckingham Palace, it is, as Alastair Sookes puts it, ‘a burlesque version’ of the original memorial, as well as […]

Critics have frequently commended the humour of Anna Burns’s Milkman (2018), but beyond descriptions of the novel as ‘charmingly wry’ (New Yorker) or ‘darkly comic’ (The Telegraph), there has been little real insight into the part humour plays. This critical disinterest in humour – particularly in literature-  is widespread, partly because comedy has long been […]

The Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan is often described – rather dismissively – as a prankster. His new exhibition at Blenheim Palace, however, has been much applauded for revealing a deeper, more thoughtful aspect to his practice. While the disdain demonstrated in responses to his previous work as ‘mere’ jokes or one-liners reiterates a conception of […]

Watching three recent comedies which feature characters with disabilities, I notice a similarity in the techniques which seek to address a mainstream, able-bodied tension around the disabled body. Speechless is an ABC sitcom about a white family with a teenage son – J.J – with cerebral palsy, who needs an aide to communicate. Kenneth, his […]

The US sitcom Speechless is one of a groundswell of recent television shows with a disabled main character. Special on Netflix and Jerk on BBC3 were created by and star actors with cerebral palsy, while Don’t Forget the Driver on BBC 2, also has a central character with the condition. All are billed are comedies, […]

Terry Eagleton’s new book, Humour (2019), is going to prove to be indispensable reading, and one of its great strengths is the sustained analysis of the psychoanalytical mechanisms underlying humour. Using Freud’s insights into the capacity of humour to release ‘the psychic energy we normally invest in maintaining certain socially essential inhibitions’ (11), Eagleton develops […]

Lucy McCormick’s recent Fringe show, Post Popular, reprises the comically narcissistic persona used in her 2016 show, Triple Threat, but this time with added trauma. ‘Lucy’ was more broadly comic in the first show, but now there are hints of a darker backstory: she mentions the death of her father and there are oblique references […]

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