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Lois & Richard Rosenthal Center
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Jayson Musson: His History of Art

A satirical survey of art history

On view through
08 September
2024

Exhibition Highlights

Exhibition Details

Jayson Musson created His History of Art as part of his 2022 artist residency at The Fabric Workshop and Museum (FWM), an institution in Philadelphia devoted to artistic collaboration. Inspired by sitcoms and educational and variety television shows, including Pee Wee’s Playhouse and The Muppets, Musson collaborated with FWM staff, film producers, writers, and editors to create a three-episode series that reconsiders key aspects of art history. The artist breaks down elitist walls surrounding art history and encourages the questioning of long-established beliefs around artistic genius.

Evoking the tone of educational PBS children’s shows and nun-turned-art-critic Sister Wendy Beckett’s BBC productions, His History of Art uses humor to explore and critique commonly studied works of art. Musson— who wrote and directed the series, in addition to performing onscreen as “Jay” – attempts to educate his skeptical puppet sidekick Ollie. They journey through time, from the prehistoric era to the present, encountering figures as varied as Spanish painter and sculptor Pablo Picasso and a larger-than-life Venus (now called Woman) of Willendorf, a four-and-a-half-inch figurine made 25,000 to 30,000 years ago. Jay and Ollie ask these art historical icons questions and listen to their “first-hand” accounts. Their explorations beg the question: is art history still important to our daily lives? If so, why, and how?

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The presentation of His History of Art at CAC is supported by The Annex Gallery and Barbara Myers.

CAC annual exhibition support is provided by Gale & Dave Beckett, Helen & Brian Heekin, Barbara Myers, John & Ronnie Shore, and Barbara Weston Sasser & Carol Weston Roberts.

CAC major annual operating support is provided by Jeff Ahrnsen, ArtsWave, Ronald Bates & Randy Lasley, Gale & Dave Beckett, Jim Cheng, Dr. Maria and Jonathan Espinola, Steve Jemison & Phyllis McCallum, The Johnson Foundation, The Kaplan Foundation, Emily Kokenge, Bruce Lazarus & Phil Weintraub, Chuck Lohre & Janet Groeber, Rick Michelman & Karen Meyer, Emily Hanako Momohara & Shawn Newman, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ohio Arts Council, P&G Fund, Kyle Pohlman, The Rosenthal Family Foundation, and Rosemary & Mark Schlachter.

Artist

Jayson Musson

Curated by

His History of Art was organized by The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia. Major support for the exhibition has been provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, with additional support from The National Endowment for the Arts, The Wyncote Foundation, and All Ages Productions. This presentation is coordinated at the CAC by the Curatorial Department, and in collaboration with Christina Vassallo, Alice & Harris Weston Director.

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