On the Value of Utilizing a Goose

Please join us and Observatory‘s Phantasmaphile this Saturday, November 20th, 5-7pm for a discussion on the grotesque in art with Dr. Nancy Hightower.  In addition to chatting about the amazing work on the walls at the ISE Cultural Foundation, Nancy will have other works to present from visual and literary grotesque history, including a passage from Rabelais’ Gargantua and Pantatruel concerning the best ways of keeping oneself most comfortably clean and fresh (see this post’s title…if you’re still confused, come to the lecture).

This event is FREE. RSVP via our facebook event page would be appreciated, but not required.

ISE Cultural Foundation
555 Broadway, between Prince and Spring (please hit buzzer for entrance)
please note that the ISE is not connected to the Scholastic store
212.925.1649

One of Gustav Dore's illustrations of Rabelais' Gargantua and Pantagruel

“Modern contemporary art, film, TV, and literature embrace the bizarre in a way never before seen. Many might term what they see and read as “grotesque”—used pejoratively to mean that which is strange, unsightly, obscene; in some cases, even funny. The grotesque as a scholarly study, however, is something different. It’s not altogether different, mind you, for certainly the grotesque always includes elements of the bizarre. Yet many authors and artists have used the grotesque—this elusive intersection of humor and horror—to question the strongest rhetoric that holds our society together.

The grotesque has a rich and long history, beginning in antiquity. It was simply ornamental back in Nero’s time, as we see in the “grottoes” of his palace, the Domus Aurea. Human forms blended into plants and animals, with a playfulness that delighted the eye. That ornamental version of the grotesque turned darker when Bosch incorporated it into his Garden of Earthly Delights and Bruegel in The Triumph of Death. Both works give us insight into the paradoxes of the artists’ cultures Over time, the grotesque grew to include an aspect of horror along with a humor that moved beyond an intellectual sarcasm. The purpose of such transgressive humor and horror addresses the paradoxes, hypocrisies, and binaries seen in our post-modern society.”

Dr. Nancy Hightower is an instructor in the Program for Writing and Rhetoric at the University of Colorado, Boulder, where she teaches courses on the Grotesque in Art and Literature.

Please visit the gallery at any time, Tues – Sat, 11am – 6pm, from now until the end of the year to view

Another Roadside Attraction | An Exploration Into The Contemporary Art Genre Of The Neo-Grotesque

November 9 through December 31, 2010

To see an online gallery of the work, click here.

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