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ART | "It's Not Funny" 

Some artists use unexpected tones or materials to make serious topics more approachable. That's the idea behind "It's Not Funny," a new show opening this week at Rochester Contemporary Art Center (137 East Avenue). The exhibit brings together a range of local and national artists who use humor, toys, and other playful objects to create works that engage their audience in cultural criticism.

Participating artists include Rochester-based Bob Conge (Plaseebo) with custom vinyl and resin collectible figures; Larry Moss and Kelly Cheatle (Airigami), who create high-impact sculptures and environments from balloons; Jason Schulmerich, whose sci-fi-inspired drawings are part robot and part mutant; Chicago-based Chris Cosnowski, who creates hyperrealistic oil paintings of toys; Dan Gunderson of DeLand, Florida, with photographs of mandalas made of toys, and presenting a documentary video; Dina Goldstein of Tel Aviv and Vancouver, with her photo series "In the Dollhouse"; and Tyler Bohm of Columbus, Ohio, whose Plexiglas and mixed-media works explore our complicated relationship to technology.

An opening reception is planned for Friday, April 7, from 6 to 9 p.m., with an artist talk scheduled for Saturday, April 8, at 1 p.m. The exhibit continues through May 13. Gallery hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., and Friday until 9 p.m. Admission is $2, and free to members. For more information, call 461-2222 or visit rochestercontemporary.org.

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