Hannah Gadsby: Art Lite – Artspace – Cabaret Festival – 4K

By Tom Eckert


Hannah Gadsby; a self deprecating, paradoxically self-effacing every-woman has hit onto a winning format here.

Capitalising on the fact that she is over-qualified for a comedian but under-qualified as a lecturer she recognises the niche and creates the happy medium. What you are left with is ‘Art Lite’ a quasi-lecture (including the obligatory schlick PowerPoint presentation) on the subject of the history of Western Art from as far back as the classical Greeks, paying pointed attention to Eurocentric white wankers’ obsessions with boobs, boy Christ and hosts of creepy naked babies.

Whether by design or by accident Hannah Gadsby has tapped into what can only be described as the western entertainment’s fetishism for irony.

By tackling a subject with which she is deeply informed about, but the large majority of the audience consider over their heads, she has placed herself in the position to address the profound absurdities that the layman would struggle to comment on for fear of ridicule. And what we discover is that the entirety of western art is riddled thick with the narcissism, sycophancy and absurdity so easily recognised in the popular art of today. She reminds the audience that even the ‘masters’ were only humans that were particularly good at putting colour on paper (and even some of them weren’t that good) and that the only people lauding them as anything more than mortal are pompous, middle-aged white men whose associate-professorships rely on their insistence that they ‘wouldn’t expect you to comprehend high art’.

Consider this the 21st century’s version of the Enlightenment, this truly is Titian meets TMNT. With an eye for the details that pass most of us by and a resounding appreciation for the absurd and ridiculous, the irreverence of a school girl coupled with the sharp wit of someone jaded by the world, Hannah Gadsby reminds you that nothing is worth being taken seriously. Herself included.

Kryztoff Rating: 4K

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