Mar 28, 2019
Is it necessary to have fun to create work with humor, what is the line between humor and discomfort, can art that is funny have a serious message? How does Instagram success translate to the art world? These are some questions we address in this week’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast, and while “humor in art” is our starting point, the conversation takes its own life and we touch on a range of subjects including, how to sustain a creative idea, the discrepancy between intent and reception, self-portraiture, and how to scale work for both a small screen and a gallery.
With these ideas on the table, I cannot think of two better guests with whom to have a conversation. Mitra Saboury and Ben Zank are both artists who explore very personal spheres with their photo and video work, and both incorporate humor and playfulness to express their worldview—and as a portal to explore thornier themes.
Ben Zank’s deceptively simple, wonderfully composed images, often with himself as model, explore the body’s relationship with its found environment. Placing a model in a sewer, a pothole, a basketball hoop, or under the yellow lines of the highway, Zank creates an, at times awkward, at times harmonious exchange. The almost self-deprecating humor belies a confident control of purpose and a delicate view of the human form.
The imaginative work of Mitra Saboury, whether alone or in collaboration with meatwreck, explores the physical and psychological effects of our quotidian toils. Like Zank, there is much humor in her work, but a persistent challenging of norms and questioning of beliefs runs through her photography, video, performance, and installation art. Some pieces are discomforting, but strength through inquiry and vulnerability lay at their core. Her work has been exhibited throughout the world, most recently at the Spring Break Art Fair, in Los Angeles, but she also thrives on Instagram and encourages audience participation, whether in person or in the semi-anonymity of the Web.
Guests: Mitra Saboury, Ben Zank, Cory Rice
Photograph © meatwreck