Evil Clowns

27. September 2014 - 08. March 2015 Dortmunder U, Level 3

The exhibition Evil Clowns organised by HMKV (Hartware MedienKunstVerein) at Dortmunder U from 27 September 2014 to 8 March 2015 attracted about 9,000 visitors! It explored the figure of the evil clown in contemporary and popular culture (film, music videos, advertisement, political activism) by highlighting its inherent ambivalence and tracing its mutation from popular entertainer to creepy villain.

Last but not least the exhibition has attracted interest from various institutions and will travel to Kunstpalais Erlangen in 2016:

Evil Clowns _reloaded
24 April - 26 June 2016
Kunstpalais Erlangen
Marktplatz 1
91054 Erlangen, Germany
T + (0)9131.86 2735


On the exhibition:
Dangerous clowns are standing by the side of the road’, sang the Düsseldorf band Der Plan as early as 1979. The exhibition Evil Clowns explores the often disquieting figure of the clown, which has made an “uncanny” career in recent years. Today (evil) clowns appear in a wide range of contexts including (anti-)advertisement (Ronald McDonald and various spoofs), political activism (The Yes Men), TV series (Krusty in The Simpsons), horror films and Hollywood productions (Killer Clowns from Outer Space; Pennywise in Stephen King’s It; the Joker as Batman’s opponent), pop music (Der Plan, The Residents) and in contemporary art. The masked jester makes us laugh – but behold: There’s Nothing Funny About a Clown in the Moonlight (Lon Chaney). This was again demonstrated recently by the Northampton Clown. The international exhibition Evil Clowns at Hartware MedienKunstVerein explores this ambivalent character. ’Send in the clowns!’ (Frank Sinatra)

As part of the exhibition Evil Clowns HMKV cooperates with
Jeu de Paume
in Paris, who have commissioned new work by Constant Dullaart (NL): "High Retention, Slow Delivery!!" (2014)

Curated by Inke Arns

The Cacophony Society selection was curated by Marie Lechner.

On the occasion of the exhibition a book will be published in June 2015 containing essays by Inke Arns, Mark Dery, Judith Funke and Marie Lechner.

Tickets: €5 / €2,50 concessions

Funders and Partners

Supported by the Art Foundation of NRW (Kunststiftung NRW).

In collaboration with Jeu de Paume (Paris).

Main sponsors of the HMKV:
Cultural Office of the City of Dortmund
Ministry for Family, Children, Youth, Culture and Sport of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia
Dortmunder U – Centre for Art and Creativity

With the kind support of the Office for Visual Arts/Institut français in collaboration with the French Ministry for Culture and Communication/DGCA.

Media partners:
ARTE Creative


You will find press material on this program item in our press area.