Words will only be words: The Death of a Clown

Jared Pappas-Kelley

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


There’s nothing particularly contentious about saying that clowns might be a bit creepy – with the clown lexicon: John Wayne Gacy, Pennywise from It, Krusty, or even Bruce Nauman’s Clown Torture – doing a decent job of cementing this into popular imagination. But there is also something a bit more intricate to clowns, the possible lack of visual intimacy where it is never known if what’s inside matches the exterior. Even Picasso’s clowns – or excuse me, harlequins – have pictorial incongruence between the image of the clown and an interior life, and that was over a hundred years ago. One of his paintings is purportedly a self-portrait of the artist as he reflects on a friend’s recent suicide, with the artist portrayed as a clown.
Original languageEnglish
Specialist publicationTentacularmag
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2020


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