Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys: The Motif of the Circus in Contemporary Art
Works that use the circus to question cultural and political structures.
Originating in London towards the end of the eighteenth century, the circus has long been a subject of fascination. Though today this spectacle can seem like a relic from the past, the entertainment, humor, and exploitation of the circus provide a basis to examine art, cultural history, animal rights, feminism, and racism. The illusions, struggles, successes, and failures staged at the circus can expose cultural dominance and marginalization.
Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys convenes works by an international array of contemporary artists who make use of the circus motif to examine society. Assembled to accompany a 2023 exhibit of the same name at Kunstmuseum Thun, the catalog includes art by Kathryn Andrews, Miriam Bäckström, Istvan Balogh, Beni Bischof, Mona Broschàr, Barbara Breitenfellner, Michael Dannenmann, Zilla Leutenegger, Dieter Meier, Yves Netzhammer, Tal R, Augustin Rebetez, Boris Rebetez, Ugo Rondinone, Niklaus Rüegg, Lin May Saeed, Francisco Sierra, Norbert Tadeusz, and William Wegman.
About the Author
Helen Hirsch is the director of the Kunstmuseum Thun and the Thun Panorama.
Katrin Sperry is the director of the Benzeholz – Raum für zeitgenössische Kunst.