Sideshow of the Absurd, 2001-2014, a traveling interactive exhibition.
Inspired by nostalgia for early 20th-century carnivals and freak shows, Pamela Joseph's Sideshow of the Absurd has been shown in over ten venues around the country in different configurations since 2001. It comprises a complex multi-media sculptural installation based on the circus sideshows that Joseph remembers from her childhood and includes mechanized, mostly female figures, which offer a twist on traditional sideshow exhibits. The Sideshow's intention is to simultaneously disseminate information and nostalgia for a lost indigenous American art form, and to stimulate ideas, provoke thought and act as a catalyst for understanding the present.
The Hundred Headless Women Cutting Board Wall, 2001-2013.
"The Hundred Headless Women," a wall installation of wood-burned kitchen cutting boards and ironing boards, was originally created in 2001 for "The Torture Museum" in her traveling interactive exhibit, "The Sideshow of the Absurd". Over the years Joseph has added additional pieces as the "Sideshow" and the wall continue to be exhibited. The images come from a wide variety of sources that the artist has collected for decades. They show women in perilous and dangerous situations, but the heroine is always smiling, and she always survives. The name pays homage to Max Ernst's brilliant book of collages and engravings, "The Hundred Headless Woman" from 1929.
Painted Banners, 2001-Present.
The Painted Banners were created as part of the installation of "The Sideshow of the Absurd."