Jennifer Higgie

Jennifer Higgie is the coeditor of Frieze Magazine. She has published writings on such contemporary artists as Ricky Swallow, Magnus Von Plessen, and David Noonan.

  • The Artist's Joke

    The Artist's Joke

    Jennifer Higgie

    Jokes and humor in avant-garde and contemporary art, as discussed by writers and artists ranging from Freud and Picasso to Andrea Fraser, the Guerilla Girls, and Slavoj Žižek.

    Ever since Freud's Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious appeared in 1905, humor both light and dark has frequently surfaced as a subversive, troubling, or liberating element in art. The Artist's Joke surveys the rich and diverse uses of humor by avant-garde and contemporary artists. The texts collected in this new reader from London's Whitechapel Gallery examine what André Breton called the “lightning bolt” of the unsettlingly comic, as seen in the anarchic wordplay of Duchamp, Picasso, the Dadaists, and Surrealists; Pop's fetish for kitsch and the comic strip; Bruce Nauman's sinister clowns and twisted puns; Richard Prince's joke paintings; art ambushed by feminist wit, from the Dadaism of Hannah Höch in the 1920s to the politicized conceptualism of Jenny Holzer and Barbara Kruger in the 1980s; the serenely uncanny in Mike Kelley's installations and the risibly grotesque in Paul McCarthy's; and the strangely comic scenarios of artists as various as Maurizio Cattelan, Andrea Fraser, Raymond Pettibon, and David Shrigley. Artists' writings are accompanied and contextualized by the work of critics and thinkers including Freud, Bergson, Hélène Cixous, Slavoj Žižek, Jörg Heiser, Jo Anna Isaak, and Ralph Rugoff. Jennifer Higgie is the coeditor of frieze magazine. She has published writings on such contemporary artists as Ricky Swallow, Magnus Von Plessen, and David Noonan.

    Artists surveyed include Leonora Carrington, Maurizio Cattelan, Marcel Duchamp, Marlene Dumas, Fischli & Weiss, Andrea Fraser, the Guerilla Girls, Hannah Höch, Mike Kelley, Martin Kippenberger, Barbara Kruger, Sarah Lucas, Paul McCarthy, Bruce Nauman, Claes Oldenberg, Raymond Pettibon, Francis Picabia, Pablo Picasso, Richard Prince, Arnulf Rainer, Ad Reinhardt, ED Ruscha, Carolee Schneemann, David Shrigley, Robert Smithson, Annikia Ström, Kara Walker, Andy Warhol Writers includeHugo Ball, Henri Bergson, André Breton, Hélène Cixous, Sigmund Freud, Jörg Heiser, Dave Hickey, Jo Anna Isaak, Ralph Rugoff, Peter Schjeldahl, Sheena Wagstaff, Hamza Walker, Slavoj Žižek

    • Paperback $24.95
  • Bedlam


    Jennifer Higgie

    I did not write my life, and therefore cannot tell you in simple terms what happened to effect such change. I have left that task to the images that have fallen from my fingers since my youth. I have let them fall, so that one day they might be picked up. My pictures describe me correctly. Jennifer Higgie

    In 1842 an English artist accompanied a former mayor on a Grand Tour of Europe and the Middle East. Within a year he had become a devotee of the Egyptian god Osiris and murdered his beloved father, believing him to be an impostor. Bedlam is a novel inspired by a year in the life of Richard Dadd, a great Victorian painter and inmate of London's Bethlem Hospital – more commonly known as Bedlam.

    Higgie's prose is fragmentary yet lucid, and the novel evokes the inextricable beauty and terror of Dadd's sensory journey, while raising some of the philosophical questions it poses about art, language and other minds. Bedlam is a mystery story in which we search for clues as to how an individual might go from precocious talent to parricide. Oliver Harris, Times Literary Supplement

    Jennifer Higgie is co-Editor and staff writer of frieze magazine. She is the editor of Art and Humour published by the Whitechapel Gallery, London and MIT Press. She also wrote the screenplay for the feature film I Really Hate My Job, which will be on general release in 2007.

    • Hardcover $20.00