“Send in the Clowns,” October 19 – 30, 2020
“Send in the Clowns” was an interactive 2-week digital engagement project sponsored by Allianz Partners which explored the clown as a figure between tragedy and comedy, between self-identification and stage–a character designed to (literally) mask the performer’s true feelings behind a façade of happiness. “Send in the Clowns” used the prominence of the “clown” figure in Fritz Ascher’s work as a lens through which to explore the duality of the clown both historically and today. Communicating via social media platforms as well as Zoom, “Send in the Clowns” included two interdisciplinary virtual roundtables—one entitled “The Clown on Stage,” featuring a commedia dell’arte scholar, an art history and theology scholar, and the founder of a clown school in Minnesota; the other “The Hospital Clown: Between Joy and Sadness,” featuring the founder of Red Noses Clowndoctors International and two clowns currently working in the pediatrics wards at American hospitals—as well as further posts exploring Ascher’s interest in the subject, and Twitter and Instagram takeovers by the founder and creative director of Red Noses Clowndoctors International and a theater scholar.
“The Clown on Stage”
October 21, 2020, 12 – 1 PM ET
Featuring Matthew R. Wilson, Ori Z. Soltes, and Tricia Manuel. Moderated by Elizabeth Berkowitz
“The Hospital Clown: Between Joy and Sadness”
October 28, 2020, 12 – 1 PM ET
Featuring Giora Seeliger, Harry Page, Ed Stephan. Moderated by Elizabeth Berkowitz
Fritz Ascher’s Clowns on Social Media
Social media posts exploring key aspects of Ascher’s clown imagery, as well as responses to Ascher’s work by current clowns.
DigiFAS Quick Clips
Matthew R. Wilson Twitter Event, October 22, 2020, 12 – 1 PM Eastern Time
Twitter conversation between Matthew R. Wilson and Elizabeth Berkowitz about the history of commedia dell’arte and current clown practice, clowning archetypes and performance conventions, and Fritz Ascher and the “sad clown” in modern art.
Giora Seeliger Twitter Event, October 29, 2020, 12 – 1 PM Eastern Time
Twitter conversation between Giora Seeliger and Elizabeth Berkowitz about the challenges and rewards of healthcare clowning, how healthcare clowns (and all clowns) manage the divide between outward joy and inner turmoil, and how clowns can bring happiness into even the most dire of situations.
All Fritz Ascher Images © Bianca Stock.