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The Art Guys Expose Their Secrets at SUNY New Paltz

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NEW PALTZ -- The Art Guys - described as "a cross between Dada and David Letterman, John Cage and the Smothers Brothers" - will discuss their amusing and thoughtful work at SUNY New Paltz on Wednesday, October 18 when they appear there as guests of the Art Lecture Series. The event, sponsored by the Student Art Alliance, a funded member of the Student Association, begins at 7:30 p.m. in Lecture Center 112 on the SUNY campus. It is free and open to all.

Since 1983, when Jack Massing and Michael Galbreth met at the University of Houston, The Art Guys have collaborated to reveal the humor and absurdity of everyday events and objects. Embracing performance, sculpture, and numerous other media, The Art Guys seem to avoid simple categorization. As one critic puts it, "they represent a kink in the art historical continuum - a hiccup, a scratch that can't be itched." Nonetheless, the peculiar style of The Art Guys has drawn attention, and their blasphemous material, sometimes amusing, sometimes befuddling, has enticed audiences across America.

The Art Guys' work is often inspired by earthly and mundane things, but their simple subjects often belie a deeper, more profound goal. According to Galbreth, "the big artistic issue of our age is not formal, it's social. General society does not know what art is, and the richness and value that it has. What artists do is confusing to people. We try to bring people into a dialogue, and we found that the best way to welcome a large audience was through humor." Their approach might seem almost paradoxical. For instance, in a piece titled Suits: The Clothes Make the Man, suits designed by Todd Oldham became commercial billboards as The Art Guys sold space on the shoulders and lapels to the highest bidder. This method - "deliberately taking to an absurd extreme the modern notion of using everyday things and situations as the raw materials of art" - is The Art Guys' trademark. (Quotes taken from ARTnews, January 1998.)

The Art Lecture Series is an ongoing forum. For more information on this and other Arts Events, visit our web site at or call 845-257-3872

"...a cross between Dada and David Letterman, John Cage and the Smothers Brothers. Add a touch of Claes Oldenburg and Groucho Marx, and you've got a fair idea of the performance/conceptual art of Michael Galbreth and Jack Massing, the two Houstonians who are in year fourteen of their collaboration as The Art Guys." The New York Times

photos of The Art Guys are available on the web: