John Oliver’s Weird Art Collection Is Coming to a Museum Near You

John Oliver on April 30, 2019 in New York City. Roy Rochlin/Getty Images for NRDC

John Oliver’s late night show has the flexibility and dexterity to cover many different topics within its weekly schedule, and recently, Oliver took up the cause of shedding a light on museums that have been struggling during the pandemic. As a result, Oliver’s show Last Week Tonight is going to donate $10,000 grants to five American museums across the country in tandem with an interesting new exhibition: each of the museums receiving the money will also be hosting a show that includes works from Oliver’s recently-cultivated “weird art” collection. Oliver’s collection was put together as part of his “weird art” competition.

The five museums that will be receiving the money are the Judy Garland Museum in Minnesota, the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago, the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, the William V. Banks Broadcast Museum and Media Center in Detroit and the Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco. Plus, the “weird art” Oliver has acquired over the past year or so is certainly novel. The collection includes rat erotica, a portrait of Wendy Williams eating a pork chop and a work by the visual artist Judith Kudlow.

During the pandemic, the American Alliance of Museums found that 67% of museum respondents to survey reported having to cut back on education, programming, and other public services due to coronavirus-related budget shortfalls. The American Alliance of Museums also found that 29% of museum directors surveyed confirmed there was a “significant risk” (12%) of their institutions closing permanently by the fall of 2021, or that they “didn’t know” (17%) if it will be possible to survive.

With museums beginning to reopen across the country in earnest, everything is different: people are still balking at the concept of being unmasked in public spaces, and the Delta variant is wreaking havoc, even among the vaccinated. The levity offered by a Wendy Williams painting is very welcome. John Oliver’s Weird Art Collection Is Coming to a Museum Near You