Slapstick, Technology & Contemporary Art

Tuesday, April 19, 2016, 7 - 8:30pm

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Charlie Chaplin in 'Modern Times' (1936)

Charlie Chaplin in 'Modern Times' (1936)

In a free, public lecture Ruba Katrib examines how slapstick and gags emerged in early 20th century popular entertainment as a new type of humor that in part responded to an increased reliance on machine technologies. The talk will explore the humorous collision and intertwining of bodies and machines in early cartoons, film, and circus entertainment in the early 20th century, and posits parallels in contemporary art practices.

Ruba Katrib is the Curator at SculptureCenter in Long Island City, New York where she has produced group shows The Eccentrics (2015), Puddle, Pothole, Portal (2014) (co-curated with artist Camille Henrot), Better Homes (2013), and A Disagreeable Object (2012). Recent solo shows include exhibitions with Rochelle Goldberg (2016), Anthea Hamilton, Gabriel Sierra, Magali Reus, Michael E. Smith, and Erika Verzutti (all 2015). In her previous post as the Associate Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), North Miami, she organized several acclaimed solo and group exhibition including The Reach of Realism (2009), which explored the traditions of realism within the digital age, as well as the first museum retrospectives of Cory Arcangel and Claire Fontaine (both 2010). Katrib has contributed texts for a number of publications and periodicals including Art in America, Parkett, and cura. magazine. She has also co-curated with Tom Eccles, Visitors, a group exhibition of public art on Governors Island, New York (2015). 

This lecture is part of the Spring 2016 Intradisciplinary Seminar, part of the Robert Lehman Visiting Artist Program at The Cooper Union. We are grateful for major funding support from the Robert Lehman Foundation, Inc.

Located in the Frederick P. Rose Auditorium, at 41 Cooper Square (on Third Avenue between 6th and 7th Streets)

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.