High-brow ‘South Park’

Artists pay tribute to Comedy Central's toon

Cultured Gothamites rejoice: “South Park” has heard your pleas. Comedy Central has teamed with “art terrorist” Ron English and several street and pop surrealist artists for an installation based on the foul-mouthed cartoon characters at the Opera Gallery in Soho.

Comedy Central topper Michele Ganeless says she’s happy to see the exhibition kick off what she calls “the year of the fan” surrounding the 15th anniversary of the Matt Stone and Trey Parker skein. The show, she insists, has plenty to offer a highbrow aud.

“I think for some people, all they got was the scatological humor, but the brilliance was always there,” Ganeless says. “More and more over the years, they’ve used it to comment on pop culture and the world.”

English isn’t a guy you’d expect to see working with a corporate giant like Viacom. The leftist artist has been jailed more than 30 times for his antiwar billboard defacements — one says “Shop while they drop,” another sarcastically proclaims “Support our CEOs.”

But the artist says he’s really big on the toon. “None of my son’s friends were allowed to watch ‘South Park’; we weren’t sure either, at first,” English says. “But then we kind of felt like it was making him smarter.”

English says the enthusiasm extends to his fellow artists (“all big fans,” he says), and that he particularly likes the frequently killed Kenny. “I was friends with Kenny growing up — a really poor kid who did stuff that our family didn’t do,” he says.

And how did he pay tribute to his favorite character? “I did one of him on fire.”