The Quotable Sideshow

"Pamela Joseph examines the parallel expectations of women in society: mother and sex object, virgin and whore, idolized and vilified. She is at once goddess and monster, and this creative, engaging exhibition shines a bright light in the face of these dichotomies, urging the viewer to consider his or her own perceptions. Plus, it's a whole lot of fun."
                               -Joy Armstrong, Fine Arts Center Colorado Springs, 2014

“In  this show,  the truly  terrifying  implications  are  the aspects  that cannot  be confined to a carnival tent… When  Joseph  presents  the non-normative  as aspects of the female body, the comforting freak show us/them dichotomy fades.”
                                                             –Kristie Betts, Boulder Weekly, 2001

“Joseph  has  found  the right tone:  the innately  creepy  nature of  the low-rent, high-wattage carnival, where sleight-of-hand competes with bait-and-switch.”
                                         –Mary Voelz Chandler, Rocky Mountain News, 2001

“Capitalizing  on  our collective  fascination with  travelling  carnivals, peep  shows and freakish physical oddities, Pamela Joseph’s Sideshow of the Absurd is a brilliant, humorous and thought-provoking exhibit.”
                                  — Larry McCarthy, The Times (Northwest Indiana), 2001

“The Sideshow of the Absurd… undisputedly  unique  and fresh. Its  surrealistic atmosphere, combined with  Joseph’s  strong social  commentary  make it a  multi-layered  exhibition. Brilliant, humorous, and silly.”
                                                     –Anna Angeli, New Mexico Daily Lobo, 2001

“This dense exhibition is  filled with  jabs and  parries  aimed at  women’s roles, self-consciousness and appearance anxieties.  The whole  show is a metaphor  for American culture’s predilection to embrace illusion in favor of reality.”
                                   –Wesley Pulkka, The Albuquerque Sunday Journal, 2002

“The Sideshow of the Absurd focuses on  something  that to some is  just as frightening as watching a guy eat  broken glass:  feminism. Through  several attractions  inspired by sideshow facts and fiction, Joseph visually discusses virginity, pornography,  traditional roles for women, the ways that people can be seen as freaks and the differences between advertising and reality.”
                                                                — Dallas Observer Calendar, 2002

“This edgy, freak  show of an  exhibition  proves to  be much more than a low-rent thrill ride… Part of Ms. Joseph's aim is to equate the self-contained sideshow with today's museums, which also often focus on the unusual or unique...”
                                             — Mike Daniel, The Dallas Morning News, 2002

“Joseph  explores the  territory of  tabloid  superstitions  and  popular  beliefs in a series of elaborately staged, astonishingly energetic installations.  The results are wildly entertaining… (The Sideshow of the Absurd) is fun, smart, and often hilarious…”
                                               –Christine Biederman, Dallas Observer, 2002

“We don’t believe for a minute (that Joseph’s) mechanical performers demonstrate mere feats of flexibility or strength. What’s being stretched here are the sexual stereotypes within which we imprison ourselves. What’s being flexed is art’s power to overturn the institutional assumptions that so often blind us in the face of injustice. Joseph’s notion of the absurd comes suddenly close to home.”
                                                                                 — Buzz Spector, artist

“Joseph’s  installation does  more than  just trot out  human oddities  for  the  perusal  of the mob. The sideshow subtly plays tag with issues of violence, domestication, reproduction, and equality.”
                           — Audra Schroeder, Broward-Palm Beach New Times, 2003

“Pamela Joseph is  something  of a  three-ring attraction herself. She draws, sculpts, orchestrates sound and lights, and pens lowbrow  stories as come-ons for some of her contraptions. Her detailed Ball Toss, which is at first glance hilarious, is actually juggling imagery of extinct species and girlie shows, blending balmy scenes of exotica with scenarios of violence and loss that finally turn into an unsettling game.”
                                                        –Beth Dunlop, The Miami Herald, 2003

“Easily the most bizarre show to hit South Florida in a very long time. And I mean that in a good way, at least for museum-goers with a sense of humor and a sense of adventure.”
                                   –Michael Mills, Broward-Palm Beach New Times, 2003

“Pamela Joseph’s Sideshow of the Absurd … explores the role and power of women in 21st-century Western society. The exhibition’s title intimates the ultimate meaning of the installation: that the century-old tradition of viewing humans with unusual physical properties as entertainment is not only absurd, but tells far more about the viewers and their culture than the attractions being viewed.”
                                                                    —Barbara Bloemink, PhD, 2001