Disinhibition: Black Art and Blue Humor was a group exhibition exploring the use of humor as a critical method to forthrightly address societal taboos, prejudice, and stereotypes. Curated by Director of Education, Blake Bradford, the exhibition included works by Elizabeth Axtman, Michael Paul Britto, David Leggett, Dave Mckenzie, Jayson Musson, William Pope.L, and Tamasha Williamson, all of whom employ humor as a candid, cunning, and/or critical means to reflect on society.
The blunt honesty of these works is embedded in modes of popular culture and entertainment; yet the works demand critical attention be given to these deeply-rooted issues that condition us from day to day. Disinhibition is exactly what this show provided: a method of unrestrained behavior and disregard for cultural constraints. From Axtman’s strategic glamorization of race and social injustice to internal questions of participation versus rebellion as depicted in the work of Jayson Musson, the tone of this exhibition ranged from confrontational to contemplative. Treading on ground that is typically avoided for being politically incorrect or taboo, the exhibition created a space for a dialogue that fosters awareness as well as critique through a palatable comedic trope. Who are today’s truth tellers and what are the consequences of their honesty? These questions were addressed by a group of artists with a knack for dishing out the hard issues with a digestible dose of laughter.