chicago

Ben Stone

Western Exhibitions

To make a complex monumental sculpture today from a small 1960s drawing by a MAD magazine cartoonist exemplifies a kind of engaged—and endearing—high/low apotheosis of the stupid. Ben Stone’s Foneboner (all works 2007) is just that, an overblown homage so earnest and respectful to its source that it functions like a giant Baroque altar, secure in the unquestioned authority of its iconography. A ten-foot-tall multifigure ensemble, it depicts Fester Bestertester and his giddy and goofy family, as originally visualized by the late Don Martin for MAD and its paperback publications.

Martin rendered his signature Everyman (if Everyman was a good-natured cretin), his family, and Fester’s sidekick, Karbunckle, tossed upward from a roller coaster run amok, their prehensile bodies akimbo. Stone presents pretty much the same scenario; we gaze up at the Bestertesters triumphans as they float

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