Part of Agnes’s Wellness Program
John Young Johnstone, Start Another (detail), 1915, graphite and gouache on paper. Gift of Mary Jane Braide in Memory of her Mother Janet G. Braide, 2010
Slow down! Deeply observe works of art in Humour Me. Guided by the exhibition’s curator Maxime Valsamas, this contemplation practice allows for relaxation and new insights. Part of Agnes’s Wellness Program.
Caricature is a powerful art form that uses exaggeration and humour to convey social and political meaning. Humour Me traces the development of caricature, across several cultures and centuries, as a tool in dismantling power structures. While recognizing that caricature could be harmful in the reinforcement of stereotypes, this exhibition focusses on caricature that turns hierarchy on its head. The juxtaposition of opposites enabled caricaturists to vividly express ideas in rapid fashion. Through caricature, artists satirized politicians, wealthy urbanites, religious authorities and fashion trends, as well as themselves and their colleagues. The show highlights works by a number of the greatest practitioners of this art form, including William Hogarth, Thomas Rowlandson, Paul Gavarni, Honoré Daumier and Elmer Boyd Smith. It also features self-reflective caricatures by Emily Carr, Pablo Picasso and John Young Johnstone. By bringing together a selection of engaging works on paper from Agnes’s Canadian and European collections, this exhibition offers a stimulating overview of caricature’s toppling history.
Maxime Valsamas curated Humour Me and was recently the Curatorial Assistant, European Art at Agnes. He supported the European art program, with particular focus on the exhibition Leiden circa 1630: Rembrandt Emerges and The Bader Collection digital development project.
Valsamas has held curatorial internships at the Art Gallery of Ontario (as the Marvin Gelber Prints and Drawings Intern) and at the Saint Louis Art Museum, and has co-curated exhibitions at the AGO and the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, St Louis. Maxime received a PhD in Art History at Washington University in St Louis and holds an MA in Art History from Queen’s.