Allison Schulnik


It’s unfortunate but rare that art, particularly video work, moves me to the point where I’m exaggeratedly weaving words like “love” and “obsessed” into conversations about it–confessions that some might say belong more within the confines of teenagers’ online message boards about “Twilight” than within the discussion of serious contemporary art. But such is the case with Allison Schulnik‘s claymation video Hobo Clown (2008). The few minutes that it runs are some of the most heartbreaking, kaleidoscopic, breathtaking and gracefully tragic that you might ever spend on viewing art. Schulnik has created a messily pinched and sumptuously colored world of upside-down-smile wearing clowns, dragging along a vast lonesomeness of delicate floral arrangements and faded landscape, to the mesmerizing music of Grizzly Bear. You just want to climb inside the video and wrap the folds of clay around yourself, maybe fall asleep to the heartbreaking guitar strums. Around the point when the song’s first lyrics hum “Why don’t you do any dishes?”–which surprisingly isn’t at all distracting, as is the case with much of the music played over video work–things turn psychedelic, but in an honest and fresh way. Hobo Clown is currently on view at Marty Walker Gallery in Dallas, Texas.


Allison Schulnik lives and works in Los Angeles. She received a BFA in Experimental Animation at the California Institute of Arts in 2000. Her paintings have been exhibited internationally at venues including Basel; The Armory Show, New York; Rokeby Gallery, London; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Mark Moore Gallery, Santa Monica; and Bellwether Gallery, New York.