Department of Art and Art History Calendar

Visiting Artists Program presents seminar with The Art Guys

two men in tuxedos with a tree
The Art Guys Marry A Plant, 2009, photo by Everett Taasevigen

The Art Guys (Michael Galbreth, b. 1956, Philadelphia, and Jack Massing, b. 1959, Buffalo) began working together in 1983 after meeting while students at the University of Houston and have continued a collaboration that spans thirty years.

The Art Guys have experimented with a wide range of materials and activities in their attempt to expand the dialog and boundaries of art. Sculpture, drawing, performances, installations and video are among the many forms The Art Guys have employed, with food, drugs, pencils, baseball bats, car lot flags, toothbrushes and matches as just a small sampling of the unconventional materials they have utilized. Using an open and offbeat “direct-to-the public” methodology, they have presented their work in grocery stores, movie theaters, airports, restaurants, sports arenas and many other non-traditional venues for experiencing art while also exploiting mass media and entertainment to explore contemporary society and issues. They are perhaps most well known for their numerous staged performances, public spectacles, and “behavioral” interventions in a wide array of situations that have blurred the divisions between art and life.

Described in the New York Times as “a cross between Dada and David Letterman, John Cage and the Smothers Brothers,” The Art Guys often use humor and everyday materials as a way to demystify art in an attempt to welcome a broad range of audiences into the discourse of contemporary art. In this way their work has been compared to medieval court jesters and fools as well as noted 20th century artists like Marcel Duchamp and Dada, Fluxus artists, Andy Warhol and William Wegman among others.

Learn more about the Visiting Artists Program