the best art jokes

3 September 2010 § 7 Comments

Mark Tansey - Modernism, Postmodernism

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The recent widely reported ‘Best Joke’  of the Edinburgh Festival 2010 prompted me to compile a list of the best art jokes. Artists have always mined a rich vein of humour and used it in a multiplicity of ways.

Maurizio Cattelan

There is even a very serious book on the subject – The Artists Joke which looks comprehensively at the subject via such artists as Maurizio Cattelan, Marcel Duchamp, Fischli & Weiss, Hannah Höch, Mike Kelley, Martin Kippenberger, Barbara Kruger, Sarah Lucas, Paul McCarthy, Bruce Nauman, Claes Oldenberg, Francis Picabia, Pablo Picasso and Ed Ruscha. However, I will avoid any further academic discussion on humour in art – let us get to the jokes!  Counting down  accompanied by a few more obvious arty visual jokes at the same time:

David Shrigley - I Am Dead

5. There was an artist who worked from a studio in his home. His model showed up at the usual time and, after exchanging the usual small talk, began to disrobe for the day’s work. The artist told her not to bother, since he had a bad cold. He added that he would pay her for the day anyway, but that she could just go home; he just wanted some hot tea with lemon and honey.

The model said, “Oh, please, let me fix it for you. It’s the least I can do.” He agreed, and told her to fix herself a cup as well. They were sitting in the living room chatting and enjoying their tea, when he heard the front door open and close, and then some familiar footsteps. “Oh my!” he whispered loudly, “It’s my wife! Quick! Take all your clothes off!”

Richard Prince

4.  A wealthy man commissioned Pablo Picasso to paint a portrait of his wife. Startled by the non-representational image on the final canvas, the woman’s husband complained, “It isn’t how she really looks.” When asked by the painter how she really looked, the man produced a photograph from his wallet. Returning the photography Pablo observed, “Small, isn’t she?”

Alison Jackson - Queen

3. A guy passes and artist standing next to a small hole in the wall yelling, “FIVE FIVE FIVE FIVE”.
Interested the guy bends down and looks in the hole. Instantly the man is poked in the eye with the sharp end of a paint brush and runs off in pain. The artist stops yelling “FIVE FIVE FIVE” and starts yelling “SIX SIX SIX SIX”.

2. Recently a guy in Paris nearly got away with stealing from the Louvre. However, after escaping with the goods, he was captured only two blocks away when his van ran out of fuel. When asked how he could mastermind such a crime and then make such an obvious error, he replied: “I had no Monet to buy Degas to make the Van Gogh.”

1. Vincent van Gough walks into a bar, and the bartender offers him a drink…
No thank you, said Vincent, I’ve got one ‘ere.

… And those ‘best’ Edinburgh jokes (or should we say one-liners)? Here are the top four:

Harry Hill - PBW's birthday treat

1) Tim Vine – “I’ve just been on a once-in-a-lifetime holiday. I’ll tell you what, never again.”

2) David Gibson – “I’m currently dating a couple of anorexics. Two birds, one stone.”

3) Emo Philips – “I picked up a hitchhiker. You’ve got to when you hit them.”

4) Jack Whitehall – “I bought one of those anti-bullying wristbands when they first came out. I say ‘bought’, I actually stole it off a short, fat ginger kid.”

Alison Jackson - Rubik's Cube

The last word however has to go to Picasso, as sharp as any stand-up confronting a heckler:  During World War II an inquisitive German officer was harassing him in his Parisian apartment. Noticing a photograph of Guernica lying on a table he asked the artist “did you do that?” “No, you did,” responded Picasso.
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