“IS THIS THING ON?” – Comedian Themed Art exhibit @ Gallery 1988 [Melrose]

Jon Smith “Is This Thing On?” Show Poster

18 x 24 inches
Commemorative show poster

Comedian-Themed Art Exhibit
January 7 – 29, 2011
Gallery 1988: Melrose
Los Angeles, CA

Although we loved it when we first came across Tim Doyle‘s “Murray Times 6” print (January of 2009), paying tribute to various time-period’s of the actor’s career, we still chalked it up as one of those great one-off ideas.  The piece held such an immediate appeal that it was surprising that no one had attempted it sooner.  Like calling “shotgun!” or an ingeniously timed mama joke, it was difficult not to appreciate the concept that the artist simply “got to it first“.   The crazy thing is that, Doyle actually didn’t get to it first.  At least a year prior to that, another artist by the name of Jeff Boyes had already both created and sold-out of another Murray print; this time, paying tribute to the title character from the Wes Anderson film, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.  I doubt they were even the first one’s to have taken on the comedian as their muse, but it was hard to fathom that there could be much more life-blood left, if any, in regards to creating Bill Murray-focused art pieces.  When Los AngelesGallery 1988 held their CRAZY4CULT group exhibit last June, however, Todd Slater‘s RUSHMORE inspired piece helped to discount that notion.  Then, in September, another L.A.-based gallery, the R&R, held an entire exhibit dedicated to “Mr. Bill Murray” (perhaps, you remember our preview for that show).  Less than a month later we found ourselves, yet again,  posting even more Murray-related works, with our preview of Spoke Art‘s ridiculously amazing Wes Anderson-themed “Bad Dads” group exhibit at San Francisco‘s Lopo Gallery (feat. work by both Doyle and Slater).  Even more surprising than the fact that everyone’s favorite Ghostbuster keeps popping up in the artwork of so many talented artists, is the fact that, rather than becoming an increasingly worn-out and tiresome subject, the work actually seems to be getting more and more impressive.  Much of this anomaly can be easily attributed to the benefit of group shows to provide variety through the numerous artists’ individual styles and interpretations.  Still… by this point, this metaphorical dead horse should have pretty much had its skull crushed in and been transformed into Elmer’s and gelatin, right?  Wrong! We recently came across an amazing original acrylic and wood Caddyshack-inspired piece by artist, N.C. WINTERS that just might take the cake.  When you consider that the painting, “Wisdom of the Lama“, was created as part off the 3rd group exhibit to feature a Bill Murray image that we’ve covered in the last 6 months, it can seem a bit excessive.  However, by giving little more than a quick glance to the example pieces in Gallery 1988‘s current “Is This Thing On?” exhibit, it should become instantly clear that the Melrose venue’s present curation provides plenty of inspired work. Work that is worthy of any art/comedy/film/pop-culture enthusiasts full attention.

Beyond posting about the R&R and LOPO galleries exhibits last year, we also showcased pieces from Gallery 1988‘s TV-Themed “Idiot Box” group show back in April of 2009.  After factoring all that in, it’s surprising that we allowed Is This Thing On? to slip past our radar until the day of it’s opening last Friday.  As the name might suggest, the concept behind the group exhibit (co-presented by Funny Or Die) focuses entirely around the theme of legendary standup comedians.  The slogan of, “100 artists take aim at funny people” doesn’t quite do the exhibit justice.  Among the participants providing their talents are “Bad Dad” contributors like Kevin Tong, Todd Slater, Lauren Gregg, Casey Weldon, Rich Pellegrino, and Ibraheem Youssef, Gallery 1988 favorites/regulars like Augie Pagan, Netherland, Scott Campbell, and Mike Mitchell (Team Coco), and big names like Alex Pardee, Tara McPherson, Chet Zar and Travis LouieJeff Boyes even contributes an amazing Chevy Chase print, this time around (arguably, better than the original Zissou image). Equally as impressive as the variety of artists are the numerous approaches and mediums used to differentiate them.  The horror art roots of Pardee and Zar float among Ellen Shinderman‘s hand-stitched work, one of Irma Rivera‘s uniquely constructed shadow box dioramas , Misha’s velvet paintings, Jason D’aguino‘s detailed matchbook art, and the result of Travis Louie processing the image of Brian Posehn‘s through his trademark Victorian mutant aesthetic.  As for the comedians represented, the artists are not fucking around with their choices.  You won’t find any homages being paid to overblown mediocre goons like Jay Leno, Jeff Dunham, or Carlos Mencia Ned Holness.  What you will find are pieces dedicated to living legends like Steven Wright, Steve Martin, Louis CK, Chris Rock, Paul Reubens, and Murray, as well as tributes paid to such late comedy heroes and innovators as Lenny Bruce, Bill Hicks, George Carlin, Mitch Hedberg, Richard Pryor, Greg Giraldo, and John Belushi.  We also are pleasantly surprised to see props given to such fringe and/or often forgotten comedy teams as Tim & Eric, The State, Bob & David, Human Giant, Upright Citizens Brigade, and Kids in the Hall.  Perhaps the most surprising thing for me, personally, is the multitude of Artie Lange and Jon Lovitz prints that made their way into the exhibit (quite a few).

Gallery 1988 now boasts two separate locations in the Los Angeles area.  This particular exhibit is being held at the Melrose location at:

Gallery 1988
7020 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90038
Neighborhood: West Hollywood

Is This Thing On?” will continue to run through January 29th, 2011, for those lucky enough to catch it in person.
For anyone interested in owning a piece from the show, they can be purchased through the gallery’s official website.

While most exhibits tend to simply offer original pieces or only provide a selection of limited prints for purchase, this one is offering pieces created exclusively for each method.  If you are a hardcore collector with a ton of loot, there are some nice pieces available but, if you are on a slightly tighter budget, plenty of great options are still available.  Below is a selection of some of our favorite works from each category.  To see the full selection of what’s available, visit NineteenEightyEight.com.

(click titles to link/purchase)


Jeff Boyes “Clark W. Griswold”

archival print
24 x 18 inches
limited edition of 70, signed and numbered
$50 (SOLD OUT)
Inspired by Chevy Chase


Scott Derby “Cheech & Chong”

digital archival print
8 x 10 inches
limited edition of 30, signed and numbered
Inspired by Cheech & Chong


Scott Derby “Cheech & Chong” Framed

digital archival print
8 x 10 inches
limited edition of 30, signed and numbered
$65 (SOLD OUT)
Inspired by Cheech & Chong

Brad Klaussen “Deliberate Distractions”

8 color screenprint on archival paper
18 x 24 inches
limited edition of 200
Inspired by Bill Hicks


Mark Welser “The Daily Show”

giclee print on archival paper
13 x 19 inches
limited edition of 20, signed and numbered
Inspired by The Daily Show

Mark Welser “The Daily Show” Framed

giclee print on archival paper
13 x 19 inches
limited edition of 20, signed and numbered
#1 of 20, Framed
$150 (SOLD OUT)
Inspired by The Daily Show


kevin tong conan

Kevin Tong “Conan, WITH Strings Attached”

giclee print
9 x 12 inches
limited edition of 60, signed and numbered
Inspired by Conan O’Brien


Glen Brogan “Wet Hot American Summer” Framed

digital print
10 x 24 inches
limited edition, signed
$250 (SOLD OUT)
Inspired by Wet Hot American Summer


zach galifianakis

Mike Mitchell “Maraijuna Santa Claus”

giclee print on archival paper
16 x 20 inches
limited edition of 25, signed and numbered
$75 (SOLD OUT)
Inspired by Zach Galifianakis


slater jerk

Todd Slater “Roll The Ugliness”

18 x 24 inches
limited edition of 30
$45 (SOLD OUT)
Inspired by Steve Martin

childrens hospital

Derek Deal “Children’s Hospital”

18 x 24 inches
limited edition of 100
Inspired by Children’s Hospital


nc winters murray

NC Winters “Wisdom Of The Lama”

acrylic on paper, mounted to wood, and resined
14 x 17 inches
$800 (SOLD)
Inspired by Bill Murray


Travis Louie “Posehn”

acrylic on board
8 x 10 inches
oval frame with convex glass
$1,800 (SOLD)
Inspired by Brian Posehn


Dave MacDowell “Pryor On Fire!”

acrylic on canvas
18 x 18 inches
Inspired by Richard Pryorpee wee

Allison Reimold “Mr. Paul Reubens, A Loner And A Rebel”

oil on board and mixed media
24 x 18 inches
custom frame
$1,200 (SOLD)
Inspired by Paul Reubens

Ryan Jones “Dave”

oil on collage
36 x 48 inches
Inspired by Dave Chapelle


Lauren Gregg “Gallagher”

cel vinyl on wood
14 x 11 inches
Inspired by Gallagher

Andrew DeGraff “The Nephews Muscles”

gouache on paper
15 x 22 inches
Inspired by Tim And Eric

Ellen Schinderman “St. Jeffery With A Rose”

hand-stitched cotton and silk on linen
14 x 14 inches
Inspired by Jeffery Ross

Jeff Ramirez “Turd Ferguson”

oil on panel
12.5 x 16 inches
$500 (SOLD)
Inspired by Norm MacDonaldrickles pardee

Alex Pardee “Mr. Potato Head”

ink on bristol board
16 x 20 inches
$400 (SOLD)
Inspired by Don Rickleschetzar_andydick

Chet Zar “Andy Dick”

oil on gessobord
11 x 14 inches
Inspired by Andy DickGregGLowRes

Misha “Saint Giraldo Patron Saint Of Roasts”

acrylic on velvet
11 x 14 inches
Inspired by Greg Giraldo

Jason D’Aquino “John Belushi”

graphite on vintage matchbook
1 1/2 x 2 inches (image size)
$600 (SOLD)
Inspired by John Belushiyoungfrankenstein

Jason D’Aquino “Young Frankenstein”

graphite miniature with chalk on carded medical bone screws
3 1/2 x 4 inches (image size)
Inspired by Young Frankenstein



Kirk Demarais “Human Giant”

colored pencil on paper
14 x 17 inches
$500 (SOLD)
Inspired by Human Giant



Tara McPherson “Sarah’s Mustache Finger”

oil on paper
8 x 10 inches
$2,050 (SOLD)
Inspired by Sarah Silverman


steven wright

Rich Pellegrino “Jennings And The Pony”

gouache, ink, watercolor and acrylic on hardboard
8.5 x 11 inches
Inspired by Steven Wright


ricky gervais

Rich Pellegrino “Famed Farm Beast Organism”

gouache, ink, watercolor and acrylic on hardboard
6.5 x 8.5 inches
Inspired by Ricky Gervais


Augie Pagan “Utilizing The Kryptonite”

acrylic on masonite
16 x 16 inches
Inspired by Chris Rock


Irma Rivera “Edith Ann”

graphite, paper and glass head pins
9 x 11 x 4 inches
shadow box frame
$220 (SOLD)
Inspired by Lily Tomlin


Casey Weldon “O Captain! My Captain.”

acrylic on board
16 x 12 inches
$550 (SOLD)
Inspired by Judd Apatow


lenny bruce fuck

Chris Sanchez “Lenny Bruce: Fuck!”

acrylic on masonite
11 x 15 inches
Inspired by Lenny Bruce


Chris Sanchez “Lenny Bruce: L For Lenny”

mixed media
10 x 14 1/2 inches
Inspired by Lenny Bruce

Dead C

Located in Seattle, Dead C is the founder/editor, as well as the principal writer and photographer, of Monster Fresh. Creating the site in 2007, he did so with a specific dream in mind. Unfortunately, being a muscle relaxer-fueled fever dream, it's hard to recall all of the details. "I remember that my mom was there, but it wasn't actually her in the dream, it was actually 70s heart throb, Jan Michael Vincent. And everything took place here, in this room... but it wasn't actually here... it was different. The colors were washed out and, for some reason, there was a raccoon kicking it with us and it was wearing a holographic monocle."

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