[PREVIEW] “IS THIS THING ON? 2: The Weird Year” Presented by Gallery 1988 & Funny Or Die

When the owners of Los AngelesGallery 1988 decided to expand by opening a second location in the Venice Beach area, it wasn’t simply a sound corporate venture.  Another space was, more or less, becoming a necessity.  When the original Melrose location opened back in 2004, the idea of an art gallery that focused heavily of themes that were deeply rooted in popular culture might have seemed like a lofty and unrealistic business model for most people.  Even for those of us who couldn’t help but be instantly drawn to support and embrace such a concept, the longevity of an endeavor as untested and daring as that could still sound questionable.  How many different themes can really be pulled off month after month?  How many dead clydesdales were gonna get their ribs cracked under the force of a Vibram sole or have their skulls shattered with a blackjack?  It should have only been a matter of time before powdered milk dust and air were the only thing left to be squeezed from that pop-art udder, right?  Well, 8 years later, founders, Katie Cromwell and Jensen Karp are not only proving any doubters wrong by going stronger than ever, while staying continuously innovative and forward thinking, they’ve also helped to inspire endless other galleries to follow suit by showcasing similar works/artist.

The gallery’s breakout group exhibit Crazy 4 Cult -cohosted annually by director, Kevin Smith– has already run through 5 different installments, with the first 4 being documented with it’s own hardcover book.  While G1988 is equally as passionate about showcasing select highly-level talent, by hosting solo exhibits, and curating incredible one-off exhibits (see our Wet Hot American Summer tribute show coverage HERE), some specific themed group exhibits have been so popular and effective that they demand revisiting.  With each calendar year limited to only 12 months and so many great concepts vying for focus, the new gallery -running separate exhibits simultaneously-  helps to sustains that balance between hosting solos art shows and new experimental group exhibits, while more and more shows claim their spot as annual events.  Whether it is because enough artists want to take a swing at an exhibit that they missed out on, due to reception being so overwhelming, or simply that there is just simply more that could be said, one thing is for sure, the general consensus is that shows like the video game-themed “Multiplayer” exhibit just weren’t over yet and needed to come back for another year.  One such show titled, “Is This Thing On? 2” features 100 different artists depicting some of their favorite comedians and, while the previous show may have been undeniably impressive, this year looks as if it will actually outdo the festivities of last year’s debut.

The major selling point for this year’s event is that it’s being hosted by none other than the great “Weird AlYankovic.  The exhibit will remain available for public viewing until the end of the month and, of course, we encourage you to check it out anyway possible -whether that’s in person, online, through a periscope, whatever- but with Al being in attendance for the March 9th opening, it’s definitely a strong argument for making it out if at all possible.  The event will also being paying homage to Yankovic specifically by issuing a special limited-run 9-print career retrospective set, featuring contributions by talents like Todd Slater, Alex Pardee, and Joshua Budich.  [Check out the complete retrospective set in our accompanying post HERE].

If you live in the L.A. area, have an open schedule, but still aren’t convinced, we urge you to keep in mind that, just like last year, the show is being presented in cooperation with FunnyOrDie.com and it wouldn’t be unheard of for any of the comedians being honored (or even some not being honored) to be in attendance for the opening.

As usual, the art is first come first serve, with a great selection of prints and original work appearing on Gallery 1988‘s official site the day after the opening (March 10th).  As I type this, I’m looking at the Todd Slater print of Steve Martin juggling cats that I was able to pick up from the Is This Thing On? show last year.  This exhibit should be an impressive one.

Here are all of the details…


“Is This Thing On? 2:
Artists depict their favorite comedians once again”
March 9 – 31, 2011
Gallery1988 (Melrose)


Hosted by “Weird Al” Yankovic
Friday, March 9th from 7-10 PM


Gallery1988: Melrose
7020 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA  90038
Neighborhood: West Hollywood

Via G1988
…Paintings, prints, sculptures and one-of-a-kind plush will make up the exhibit, with G1988 favorite artists like represented, and a strong showing of artists completely new to the space…

To commemorate the approaching 30th Anniversary of Al’s first album, we have produced the official Weird Al career retrospective screenprint set, which will highlight the many memorable moments from Al’s career. Artists creating limited edition prints are Alex Pardee, DKNG Studios, Todd Slater, Adam Hanson, Derek Deal, Joshua Budich, Phantom City Creative, Dave Perillo and Graham Erwin. These prints will first be available at the opening reception.

Check out this small selection of preview images for the event below for now.
(We’re sitting on about 10 more that we’ll be dropping in another preview shortly.)

[click images to enlarge]



Julian Callos


Mixed media sculpture
8″ tall
Inspired by Louis C.K.

(click here to view detailed work in progress images)


Inspired by Fred Armisen and Kristen Wiig


Kyle Norris


pen, watercolor, pencil on strathmore
Inspired by Larry David

Bruce White

“Axel Foley”

14″ x 18″
acrylic on velvet
Inspired by Eddie Murphy (Beverly Hills Cop)

Jayson Weidel

“Be Cool My Babies!”

Edition of 40.
11″ x 17″ Giclee Print on Archival Watercolor Paper
Printed with Archival Vinyl Inks
Inspired by Conan O’Brien

Nicole Gustafsson


“Chasing Chevy Chase”

7.5 x 12.5 inches
Gouache & Ink on paper
Inspired by Chevy Chase

Darin Shock

Inspired by Mr. Show

Kate Kelton

Inspired by Whitney Cummings

Chris B. Murray

“Blast Off”                                                              “Lunch Lady”

Inspired by Tracy Morgan (as Astronaut Jones)                                   Inspired by Chris Farley


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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