Be Merry!

An ability to laugh at oneself is healthy. Laugh robustly at oneself and chuckle quietly at others. There is a noteworthy distinction between those who laugh at you out of meanness and those who laugh with you out of friendliness. I was once told it is sign of affection when someone teases you.

The Chinese painter Yue Minjun’s hysterical self-portraits although slightly cynical are contagiously humorous. His paintings at the same time allude to the Laughing Buddha, a spiritual cultural history, while also referencing European masterpieces, Chinese art, and pop art. They laugh in the face of reality. They mock modern-day China’s embrace of capitalization in the midst of trying to hold onto traditional eastern philosophical ethos. They also represent a self-ironic ability to laugh at oneself. They confront appearances, or the image of the ideal with reality.

“Between Men and Animal” (2005)

In an interview with Richard Bernstein for the New York Times, speaking about his art, Yue states, “ A smile, doesn’t necessarily mean happiness; it could be something else…I’m not laughing at anybody else, because once you laugh at others, you’ll run into trouble and create obstacles…”

Nate Lowman’s smiling faces paintings mock the iconic symbol of the happy mood while also denoting the free spirit attitude of the surfer and skater dudes. I can’t help but hear Bob Marley singing while looking at this image.

Tis the season to…Be Merry!

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