Step Right Up

Art of the Sideshow

Jul 16, 2015 - Aug 29, 2015

Location: UCF Art Gallery

Sideshow banners, the large brightly painted signs that advertise the extraordinary acts of the carnival sideshow, are a vivid and colorful example of Americana. Today, the sideshow is largely a thing of the past, but examples of its banners as well as photographs of them still exist. This exhibition will feature these visual representations of the sideshow to tell the story of American leisure and entertainment.

This exhibition features historical carnival sideshow banners from the collection of Howard Marks by artists including Fred Johnson, Snap Wyatt, Jack Sigler, and Johnny Meah; and photographs of the fair taken in the 1930s and 1940s by Reginald Marsh, Marion Post Wolcott, Jack Delano, and Russell Lee.  The spectacle of the sideshow also inspires contemporary artists, and this exhibition includes work by Laine Wyatt, Shelly Brandon, Jacoub Reyes, Arnold Mesches, Carl Knickerbocker, and Rigoberto Torres; as well as sculpture and paintings by students Jonathan Jackson, Devan Jimenez, Theresa Lucey, Lujan Perez, Milos Ajdinovic, and Allyson Dickson.

Curated by Keri Watson, Assistant Professor of Art History, UCF School of Visual Arts & Design.

Review/Press: Orlando Magazine

Special Events

Wednesday, August 26; 6-8pm
Screening and discussion of the 1996 documentary Sideshow: Alive on the Inside

Thursday, August 27; 6-8pm
Reception with special guest appearance and book-signing by banner painter Johnny Meah, “The Czar of Bizarre”

Saturday, August 29; 4-6pm
Performance by Theatre UCF students