Wednesday night at the chic Public Hotel in NYC’s Lower East Side comedians and industry packed into a 17th floor exhibition space to drink cocktails, and bid on a unique collection of portraits of New York’s iconic comedians.
Tracy Morgan, Jim Gaffigan, Lewis Black, Jim Norton, Keith Robinson, Marina Franklin and 29 other comics were on display in some very unexpected scenarios. The unique series simply titled ‘The Comedians’ was created by artist and photographer Limor Garfinkle and all 35 prints were auctioned off to benefit Mount Sinai Division of ADHD and Learning Disorders.
Spotted about amongst the crowd, taking photos and sharing their experience in the project were comedians Tracy Morgan, Mo Amer, Keith Robinson, Wil Sylvince, Marina Franklin and Modi, among others.
On display around the room, the portraits themselves were full of surprises. Like Dan Soder dressed as a longshoreman on a pier, Rich Vos training in a boxing gym, a bikini-clad Marina Franklin on a beach with an inhaler, goggles and a pistol, several portraits of Jim Gaffigan- one carrying a lunch pail and a pickaxe. There’s also a horror inspired portrait of Lewis Black, Jim Norton enjoying a bubble bath, Bonnie McFarlane digging (a shallow grave?) in the woods while wearing a dress and a leopard print coat, Carmen Lynch as Little Red Riding Hood, Wil Sylvince in the ring, Ronnie Chieng, Adam Ferrara, Mo Amer, Ardie Fuqua, Modi, Dan Naturman, supermarket super hero Greer Barnes, Jim Florentine as a metal god frosting cupcakes, and Keith Robinson as a preacher.
These images were not photoshopped fantasy shots, artist Limor and a team of 19 (designers, make up artists, costume designers, video editors and so on) created the images on location with the comics using spaces like McSorely’s Old Ale House, The Comedy Cellar, Big Daddys, the Sixth Street Synogogue and the General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen.
Speaking to the crowd, Limor said that the project began two years ago as what was supposed to be a one-off photo shoot with Ardie Fuqua, and that photo inspired her to create the entire series. She also thanked comedian Jessica Delfino, who introduced her to Jim Gaffigan who in turn, connected Limor with Caroline Hirsch of Caroline’s Comedy Club, which took the event to a bigger platform.
The entire series benefits a cause that seems appropriate given the subject matter- ADHD research. The irony of using comedians to help benefit ADHD was recognized during the presentation as the comedians gathered couldn’t help but be funny from the crowd and even hijack the presentation briefly passing the mic to fellow comedians who hadn’t planned to speak. As Mo Amer said from the stage after being the fourth comedian to have the mic passed to him, “this is out of control officially. It’s very evident that we have an epidemic with ADD and ADHD in the comedian community. ”
Garfinkle explained why she chose this particular cause to focus on. “People have come to me and said to me why ADHD. Aren’t there better causes out there? And you know what? Maybe. But, I’ve seen first hand how devastating it can be to have ADHD or any learning disability. I’ve seen it firsthand. So I think any mental illness is just as important as any physical issue,” the artist said from the stage. “So you know it’s just as important and Mount Sinai does not only treat children who would otherwise not get treatment. They also do research to develop new treatments. So please help us support them by bidding on prints or buying some prints.”
The Mount Sinai program creates opportunities to do evaluations for children to make sure they’re getting the right support at school. And those children who need it receive them therapeutic interventions, and medication management in addition to cutting edge research.
You can see all the images and get more information about the project on the artists website, limorgarfinkle.com.