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The Daily Show’s Best Art History References

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As host and mastermind behind The Daily Show, Jon Stewart has made us smarter through laughter for 17 years. Tonight, we gather for a final, if bittersweet moment of goodbyes. We all know the kind of program Stewart and co. have created on The Daily Show. His insights enlightened us. He guided us through moments of levity and gravity with the panache of a capybara in a cravat. His criticism united us to believe in and want a better Democracy. And, all the while, he made us pee with jokes about turtles and dicks. Bravo, you crazy diamond.

This will be a strange world without Jon Stewart on The Daily Show. But we’ll always have the memories (and that one episode that just won’t delete off the DVR for some reason). Join us in celebrating this peerless tenure in the style of Sartle, by laughing at art with Jon.


WARNING: Dick pics below! (NSFW obviously, unless you work at Sartle)


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Stewart: “The visual arts are such a vital part of our shared humanity, it’s almost impossible to measure their worth. A good starting point might be $104 million.”

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Stewart: “If you enjoy these jokes, there’s plenty more in The Daily Show’s book, Dick Jokes for Art History Majors. By the way, it’s pronounced Van Cock.”

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Stewart: “These works show none of the grandeur of Picasso’s work during his blue balls period. Or the innovative pointillism displaying in Seurat’s self-portrait…”

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Stewart: “Famed Picasso slashed, prices are insane. A mental patient in Amsterdam took a razor to Picasso’s famed Woman Nude Before Garden yesterday, instantly creating two lesser works entitled Garden and Woman Nude.”

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Stewart: “The man identified only as Paul G. was on a day trip from his psychiatric clinic and has got a history of art vandalism. He was arrested ten years ago for connecting the dots on Roy Lichtenstein’s Oh Jeff I Love You Too But…

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Stewart: “As fans of this show who have followed for many years know, I am something of an art nut. I love the art. I got about 50 pictures, you know. Paintings. Contemporary American. Mainly fluorescent velvet.

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Stewart: “While the [Je Sui Charlie] march is going on, [Eric Holder] is taking advantage of the shortest tourist lines in history. Just snapping selfies with the Mona Lisa.”

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Stewart tackles the world of forgeries “Monet reproduction sold for $200 may turn out to be original. Santa Claus, sadly, still your mom and dad… The painting, Monet’s Boats on the Banks of Gennevelliers was bought by the auctioneers for $225 which is an excellent price unless, as many suspect it turns out to be an original Claurde Moned.”

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Stewart- “In other art news, in Florence, Italy a year long restoration of Michelangelo’s David is nearly complete. Art experts used distilled water and mineral spirits to remove stains and special mud packs to extract dirt, plaster to fill tiny pits on the surface and for the coup de gras a swiffer… The restoration is expected to be completed within a few months at which point David will also be offered a happy ending.”

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In 2006, the sale of Gustav Klimt’s Adele Bloch-Bauer for a $135 million price had Stewart baffled: “…by the way I’m working on a painting of my own right now it’s called, Jackass With Way Too Much Disposable Income.”

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Stewart and correspondent/ “art authenticator” John Hodgman discuss the finer points of art appreciation in the 2007 wake of possible Jackson Pollock forgeries: 

Stewart: “Obviously I’m not an expert in art but I’m pretty sure the real Thinker is gigantic. It’s like a monumental statue it’s not… a bookend.”
Hodgman: “Oh I see, Rodin had no bookends. He was a crazy artist, all of his books were flopping over everywhere. Old floppy book Rodin. What a cliche.”

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Stewart- “But what makes great art isn’t that it costs a lot, it’s if it speaks to you, isn’t it? I mean if a copy looks exactly the same as an original is it less meaningful to look at?”

Hodgman- “I’m sorry Jon, are you high and in college?”

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Stewart mocks the high price of a newly attributed Michelangelo drawing and the $76 million sale of a painting by Rubens: “The folks at the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum in New York have apparently stumbled upon something…an original drawing by Michelangelo valued at 12 million dollars. The drawing in question, a pencil sketch of a candelabra drawn on a $12-million-dollar bill.”

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Stewart- “The painting entitled Massacre of the Innocents [By Peter Paul Rubens] depicts the Biblical story of Herod the Great and the slaughter of the infant boys of Bethlehem so he could be certain he had killed the Baby Jesus.

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His next painting, Taffy, shows the artist in a lighter mood.”

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Edvard Munch’s The Scream is a favorite of the Daily Show team:
Stewart- “We turn now to a tragedy in the art world, and I’m not talking about the misplaced emphasis of art and shadow common to most contemporary post-modernism although that just REALLY f***ing angers me. We’re talking about Edvard Munch’s The Scream. One of the world’s most famous paintings to ever hang above the couch in your dorm was stolen over the weekend from the Munch Museum in Oslo by two member of Norway’s dreaded Hatchback Gang.”

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And lastly, Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper is another favorite of The Daily Show, which makes sense who better to depict the betrayal of politicians to our country than JC and his buddies?

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Stewart: “The Last Supper had a higher percentage of dissent [than the US House of Representatives].”

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Stewart: “Actually, this scene is true to biblical scholarship. I remember this scene from The Last Supper. One of you will betray me. ALLLVIIIIIIN!”

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Stewart: “One of you will betray me! [Judas with a mouth full of fried chicken] Who me?”

Goodbye friend, hopefully we’ll see you soon!

By: Sarah Oesterling and Clayton Schuster

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Clayton Schuster

Sr. Contributor

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