You’ve Got to be Kidding: Humor and the Absurd in California Art

May 11 – July 30, 2023

You’ve Got to be Kidding: Humor and the Absurd in California Art celebrates the Monterey Museum of Art’s permanent collection of funk art, a movement characterized by satirical commentaries, concerns for social justice, and keen detail to the whimsical elements of daily life. Following the Cold War, many bohemian underground artists in the Bay Area joined this social movement as a rejection of traditional conventions in America, reflecting much of their observations in their artwork. This exhibition will feature artists who identified with the Bay Area Funk Art Movement, including Robert Arneson, Clayton Bailey, David Gilhooly, and William T. Wiley. Also featured are artists who preceded the movement, like Mel Hanson, and those who were subsequently influenced by it up to the present day, like Mark Licari and Tony Natsoulas. Characterized by their use of humor and the absurd, these artists employ unconventional materials, styles, and methods to showcase the unrefined aspects of everyday life. 

Image: Clayton Bailey (1939-2020), Robot, 2002, mixed media, aluminum, chrome, electric lights, 57.5 x 18 x 17 in. Monterey Museum of Art. Gift of Robin Liebes, 2021.008.