John Oliver’s penchant for the “strange arts” has helped museums


Four years ago, Last week tonight with John Oliver debuted on a recent purchase: wax figures of no less than five US presidents. It was also a fake trailer for an Oscar bait movie in which Laura Linney and Anna Kendrick acted opposite Warren G. Harding. It was a sight to see, and it also served as a reminder that Oliver and his show have what one might describe as eclectic tastes.

The latest manifestation of this comes from Oliver’s penchant for “weird art,” particularly a trio of paintings Oliver purchased after the pandemic began. This includes a portrait of Wendy Williams with a lamb chop and a stylized scene of two rats in an intimate embrace.

At the end of last year, Oliver asked for proposals from museums interested in exhibiting them in exchange for a grant of $ 10,000. As Hakim Bishara writes in Hyperallergic, this was intended as a way to raise awareness among cultural institutions affected by the pandemic. And now Oliver has announced the winners – each will receive $ 10,000, plus an equal donation made to a nearby food bank.

Grant recipients? Judy Garland Museum in Minnesota, Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago in Chicago, American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore in Baltimore, William V. Banks Broadcast Museum and Media Center in Detroit, and Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco in San Francisco. More details on each can be found here. And if it helps some museums in need, what’s not to like?

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kurt watkins

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