Glen Baxter: Humour in Art

Selected by Millie

Glen Baxter (b.1944) is an English artist known for his absurdist drawings paired alongside satirical and humorous comments. 

His drawings are reminiscent of book illustrations which create an effect resembling literary nonsense. His works involving colour are visually striking, as seen in the exhibition poster. The bold primary colours allow it to stand out and attract an audience, particularly as it is paired with a witty comment. The most appealing aspect of Baxter’s art is its humour, which allows it to attract a wide audience.

A wide audience was particularly important for his 1984 exhibition at the Royal Festival Hall, as it was shortly after the open foyer policy had been introduced. The easily accessible space, paired with the accessible content of the work, created a welcoming exhibition.

He makes comments on society, particularly the contemporary art world, which are unusual coming from an artist. However, this awareness of his world is what makes his work so much funnier and universal, as in its own way it allows a deeper connection with the viewer than a more detached commentary. The childlike images contrast the social and political satire, creating a humorous juxtaposition that isn’t commonly shown in an art gallery setting, making these pieces unique.