• Molly-Zuckerman-Hartung-BlafferArtMuseum
  • Molly-Zuckerman-Hartung-BlafferArtMuseum
  • Molly-Zuckerman-Hartung-BlafferArtMuseum
  • Molly-Zuckerman-Hartung-BlafferArtMuseum

Molly Zuckerman-Hartung. (1) Comic Relief, 2016. Gloved appendages, acrylic on canvas. 80 x 65 x 4 inches. Courtesy of the artist, Corbett vs. Dempsey, and Rachel Uffner Gallery. (2) The Failure of Contingency, 2012. Mixed media. 30 x 96 x 72 inches. Collection Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Clinton and Della Walker Acquisition Fund, 2013.  (3) History Painting for the New Queer Subject, 2016. Dye, acrylic, enamel, paper, ink, rope, wood, and mixed media on canvas. 80 x 65 inches. Courtesy the artist, Corbett vs. Dempsey, and Rachel Uffner Gallery. (4) Extending, 2009-11. Oil, shells, tile grout, latex, and collage on canvas. 14 x 11 inches. Private Collection, Chicago.

Molly Zuckerman-Hartung: Comic Relief


October 31, 2021 — March 13, 2022


Comic Relief is the first major museum survey devoted to the iconoclastic American artist, writer, and educator Molly Zuckerman-Hartung (b. 1975). Featuring over 100 artworks made across the past 20 years, this exhibition celebrates multiple dimensions of Zuckerman-Hartung’s punk-influenced aesthetic—tracing an expansive practice that spans assemblage, paintings and sculptures, drawings and prints, photographs, writing, and performance.

In her formative years, Zuckerman-Hartung participated in Riot Grrrl—the 1990s underground punk scene that originated in the Pacific Northwest and exhorted radical female empowerment through collaborative community-building and the rejection of male-dominated power structures. This involvement had a lasting effect on the artist, instilling within her a permanent inclination toward inquiry and critique, as well as a deep-rooted sense of creative resistance to societal boundaries, cultural norms, and conventional aesthetics.

Since the mid-2000s, Zuckerman-Hartung has primarily identified as a painter—often rethinking, performing, or activating aspects of the medium's long history, various visual languages, and critical strategies as a starting place for her own socially-conscious practice. She is a prodigious alchemist, prolific in her output and experimentation, restlessly moving between ideas and materials. The artist's densely-cobbled, largely abstract objects vary in scale and evocatively draw on references to feminist and queer theories, pop culture, literature, psychoanalysis, art history, current events, comedy, and her life. With a slapstick sensibility and radical self-awareness, Zuckerman-Hartung's work creates a unique lexicon for illuminating the motley dimensions of our daily systems and psychosocial landscapes.

The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue featuring an interview with the artist and texts by exhibition curator Tyler Blackwell, art historian and curator Kate Nesin, archivist Lisa Darms, and artist Annie Bielski.


This exhibition is organized for the Blaffer Art Museum by Tyler Blackwell, Cynthia Woods Mitchell Associate Curator.