There are many theories of humor which attempt to explain what humor is, what social function it serves, and what would be considered humorous. Artists sometimes use humor to question relationships between art and everyday life, but, using humor to deflate the pretentiousness of the art world is not a new concept. One can say that ever since Marcel Duchamp placed a urinal on a pedestal, artists have been mocking the conventions of art and the artworld.
But can art be critical and humorous? Undoubtedly, humor is subjective, and not all of these artists are even trying to be funny. Artworks that go for the obvious joke can be easily dismissed as insincere or worse mere entertainment, but humor can also be used as a tactic, a way to help the audience digest serious ideas.
Image - Ernest Concepcion, Winter Reunion, 2010, oil and ink on canvas, 16 x 20 inches