Untitled (Comedy Show)


Untitled (Comedy Show)

A special project by Pablo Helguera, the artist's first off-Broadway production, aptly titled "Untitled (Comedy Show)," took the form of a late-night talk show presented in three performances. Humor was skillfully employed as part of biting social commentary, offering a critique of contemporary society and the art world.
Pablo Helguera

Wednesday, February 1st, 2023 with Martha Rosler
Friday, February 3rd, 2023 with Mel Chin
Saturday, February 4th, 2023 with Nina Katchadourian


Laurie Beechman Theater, 407 W 42nd St, basement, New York, NY 10036

"The Mission Statements of the Great Museums of New York City" performed by Pablo Helguera and Pheonix Vaughn for Untitled (Comedy Show), 2023. Photo by Manuel Molina Martagon.
  • Project description
  • About the artist
Pablo Helguera, Untitled (Comedy Show). Poster by Madison Markham.

This post-COVID performance, created to fête the artworld’s return to a lack of normalcy featured performances by actress and off-Broadway singer Pheonix Vaughn, side-kicking by artist Gabriela Galván, a smattering of guest interviews with art world luminaries, audience games, and musical performances that honor the (off-)Broadway tradition. Untitled poked fun at an at times unfunny (or funnily over-serious) artworld by inviting dialogue with artists who use humor as part of biting social commentary and critique of contemporary society.

Untitled (Comedy Show) was More Art’s second collaboration with Pablo Helguera, after El Club de Protesta / Protest Club which was produced in 2011. With Untitled (Comedy Show), More Art continues to expand the range of artistic expression and venues for art, conversation, and community.

Critics have been raving about Pablo Helguera’s work:

“To be an art world insider, you need to know of Pablo Helguera and understand his well-observed jokes.”
-Sarah Thornton, author of “Seven Days in the Art World”

“Inimitable: the truth and the beauty, the delusions, the vanity and the reality of the art world.” 

-The Art Newspaper, London

“Comic relief – finally!”

-Allan McCollum, artist

“The foibles, ironies, and occasional stupidity of the art world, captured with clarity and economy.”

-The Visual Artists’ News Sheet, Ireland


Pablo Helguera

Pablo Helguera (Mexico City, 1971) is a New York based artist working with installation, sculpture, photography, drawing, socially engaged art and performance. Helguera’s work focuses in a variety of topics ranging from history, pedagogy, sociolinguistics, ethnography, memory and the absurd, in formats that are widely varied including the lecture, museum display strategies, musical performances and written fiction.

His work as an educator has usually intersected his interest as an artist. This intersection is best exemplified in his project, “The School of Panamerican Unrest”, a nomadic think-tank that physically crossed the continent by car from Anchorage, Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, making 40 stops in between. Covering almost 20,000 miles, it is considered one of the most extensive public art projects on record as well as a pioneering work for the new generation of artworks regarded under the area of socially engaged art.

Pablo Helguera performed individually at the Museum of Modern Art /Gramercy Theater, in 2003, where he showed his work “Parallel Lives”. His musical composition, “Endingness” has been performed by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Helguera has exhibited or performed at venues such as the Museo de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid; ICA Boston; RCA London; 8th Havana Biennal, PERFORMA 05, Havana; Shedhalle, Zurich; MoMA P.S.1, New York; Brooklyn Museum; IFA Galerie, Bonn; Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, Tokyo; MALBA museum in Buenos Aires, Ex-Teresa Espacio Alternativo in Mexico City, The Bronx Museum, Artist Space, and Sculpture Center, amongst many others. His work has been reviewed in Art in America, Artforum, The New York Times, ArtNews, amongst others. In 2008 he was awarded the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship and also was the recipient of a 2005 Creative Capital Grant. In 2011 he was named winner of the International Award of Participatory Art of the Region Emilia-Romagna in Italy. He has also received the Franklin Furnace and Art Matters grants.

Helguera has worked since 1991 in a variety of contemporary art museums, most recently as head of public programs at the Education department of the Guggenheim Museum in New York (1998-2005). From 2007 to 2020, he was Director of Adult and Academic programs at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. He has organized close to 1000 public events in conjunction with nearly 100 exhibitions. In 2010 he was appointed pedagogical curator of the 8th Mercosul Biennial in Porto Alegre, Brazil, which took place in September, 2011. He is currently Assistant Professor of Arts and Entrepreneurship at the College of Performing Arts at the New School in New York.

He is represented by Kent Fine Art in New York and Enrique Guerrero Gallery in Mexico City.

He is the author of many books, including Education for Socially Engaged Art (2011) and The Parable Conference (2014).

He writes a weekly column titled Beautiful Eccentrics.

  • Limited Edition Plate
  • Program
  • Cast, Crew & Thank yous
Pablo Helguera, Untitled (Comedy Show) plate

Limited Edition Plate

For Helguera’s 2023 project, titled Untitled (Comedy Show), More Art commissioned a limited edition collectible plate featuring an original Artoon. Pablo Helguera began his iconic Artoon series—featuring handrawn cartoons about the artworld— in 2009. 

I started Artoons as a joke on Facebook, when that social platform was born. I didn’t know what to put on my wall and one day it occurred to me to put a drawing in the style of the cartoons—technically they are called ‘single panel cartoons’—that are usually seen in the New Yorker magazine, although with a perspective from inside the art world. I was not interested in dealing with the clichés that criticize contemporary art as something incomprehensible or eccentric—for those of us who live it on a daily basis, those points of view are like the comments of an ignorant tourist who arrives in a country and believes that local kitsch is the authentic culture—but to comment on the real experiences that we as professionals have on a daily basis: the strange social tensions we live through, the relationship we have with collectors, curators…

— Excerpt from an interview with Helguera in El Tiempo newspaper, Bogotá, 2017.

Untitled (Comedy Show)
by Pablo Helguera
Limited Edition of 50
Commissioned by More Art

The plates are available for purchase from Artware Editions. Click here to purchase.

Untitled (Comedy Show) Playbill cover

View the Playbill here, featuring illustrations by Pablo Helguera and selected lyrics to songs from the program.

Conceived by Pablo Helguera
Lyrics by Pablo Helguera
Illustrations by Pablo Helguera


Pheonix Vaughn
Gabriela Galván
Mel Chin
Martha Rosler
Nina Katchadourian

Produced and Commissioned by More Art

Production Assistant: Wenjun Chen
Documentation: Manuel Molina Martagón

Untitled (Comedy Show) is made possible in part by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature. Additional support is provided by the Lambent Foundation and the Abakanowicz Arts and Culture Charitable Foundation.