thru June 1:
“Paul McCarthy: Sculptures”
Hauser & Wirth, 511 W 18th St., NYC
massive black walnut wood sculptures depicting McCarthy’s versions of characters drawn from the famous 19th century German folk tale Schneewittchen (Snow White) and his caricatures of modern interpretations of the story, including those in Disney’s beloved 1937 animated classic film ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’.
If you’re in NYC, don’t miss this show!
ARTSPACE NEW YORK
Paul McCarthy Gives a Tour of His Bacchanalian “Snow White” Bonanza
By Rachel Corbett
May 16, 2013
It’s safe to say that, at 67, Paul McCarthy has been recognized well beyond his role as the art world’s orphan sculptor of the abject. As you may have heard, the artist has just mounted exhibitions at both of New York’s Hauser & Wirth galleries, installed outdoor sculptures at Frieze New York and the Hudson River Park, and, next month, plans to debut two more interpretations of his favorite German fairy tale, Snow White, in Chelsea and at the Park Avenue Armory. On a recent morning, McCarthy took some time out from this busy installation schedule to discuss his latest bodies of work.
“I’ve always loved monochromes,” said McCarthy of the nine lumpy brown canvases on view at Hauser & Wirth Chelsea. Of course, his versions offer a scatalogical spin on the classic color scheme, their textured surfaces formed from the foam “droppings” left behind during the construction of artificial trees. Those trees are now headed to the Park Avenue Armory for the installation White Snow, opening June 19.
The four perfectly cast silicone nudes at the Upper East Side Hauser & Wirth exhibition are suffused with a little too much humanity to actually be beautiful. But beauty is rarely McCarthy’s goal. Instead, the series is an exercise in representation, a test of what scientific expressions of the body can teach us about seeing. “What will happen to the human body in the next 50 years?” McCarthy wondered. “They can grow tissue now, within a period of time they’ll grow a face. There is a layer of sculpting that’s the growing of human tissue.”
Upstairs, a four-channel video documents the molding process. McCarthy said he has waited to realize the “Life Cast” series for more than a decade, in part because he hadn’t found the right model. “$10,000 will buy you anything. The world is full of people who would do it, but I was looking for someone who understood it,” he said of model Elyse Poppers. “Same with finding the person to make it, you’re not just looking for another fucking technician. You’re going deeper. I’m not making a sex doll.”
Slight variations to the female nudes’ positions suggest movement—and reference McCarthy’s longstanding interest in performance—but McCarthy arrests all signs of life in this deathly (and less hairy) version of himself, Horizontal (2013).
In the last two years, McCarthy has begun digitally mapping and carving monuments to Snow White out of massive blocks of black walnut. The process is an update on the bronze Snow White figurines he has made in the past, such as the outdoor sculpture Sisters, which has just arrived on West 17th Street and the Hudson River.
McCarthy has been collaborating with his son, Damon McCarthy, at right, for the past 10 years. The duo recently shot the video installation Rebel Dabble Babble, starring Popper and James Franco, which is set to open at Hauser & Wirth Chelsea on June 20. They have gone on to film around 350 hours of footage in the last month for the forthcoming White Snow installation at the Park Avenue Armory.
Find works by one of Paul McCarthy’s latest collaborators, James Franco, at right.
Paul McCarthy: ‘I had this thing about exposing the interior of the body’
California – where stars are made and dreams come true. But it’s also where, for 40 years, Paul McCarthy has been creating creepy, stomach-churning art. So why does his rags-to-riches story read like a movie plot?
I’m here in Los Angeles to interview the artist Paul McCarthy, I tell a taxi driver on a freeway past the skyscrapers of downtown. He gets really excited – the veteran video, performance, body and installation artist who is soon to have a show in Britain must be a local hero, I suppose.
“The Paul McCartney?”
“No, Paul McCarthy.”
The taxi conversation ends.
At the hotel, a film crew are setting up their lights. Location trucks drive in and out of the hacienda-style forecourt, bringing equipment, food and dog blankets. The stars are waiting in their cages. The movie is Beverly Hills Chihuahua 3. Out of the window of my room I watch a – human – wedding on a stage set up on a lawn that is bright green, under the gold desert blaze of the sky.
The location is Pasadena, a city sandwiched between the LA sprawl and the San Gabriel mountains. McCarthy has lived in Pasadena for most of his working life, and I am to visit his studio somewhere beyond the giant palm trees of the Hollywood Chihuahua-worthy hotel. The avenues of this wealthy suburb turn out to be dotted with film crews: Pasadena’s mansions, some colonial, some Renaissance, some Spanish-style, some aping log cabins, were built by Old Money as long as a century ago and offered hideaways to the first generation of film stars in the silent era. Today they make perfect movie doubles for Beverly Hills. I am proudly shown the garden where the Steve Martin picture Father Of The Bride was filmed.
Crossing the LA river back into the larger city, the film memories are unavoidable: that concrete channel with its trickle of water is a cinematic legend in itself. Lee Marvin, Point Blank. Charlton Heston, Earthquake. Arnie in Terminator 2, or is it 3…
I know I am here to study the art of Los Angeles County and to meet one of its most celebrated living artists – even if some locals do confuse him with a Beatle – but how can you concentrate on fine art in the city that for a hundred years has shaped the world’s dreams?
This is in the question I most want to ask Paul McCarthy. What does it mean to be a serious visual artist in the shadow of Hollywood? How can American artists cohabit, here on the west coast, with American popular culture so close to its phantasmagoric source? How, in short, can he compete with Beverly Hills Chihuahua 3?
Les sculptures géantes de Paul McCarthy
Paul McCarthy, artiste malin et provocateur, expose des sculptures géantes, gonflées en plastique. Cette immense crotte exposée à Hong-Kong, donne immédiatement le ton employé par cet artiste contemporain mélangeant habilement esprit Pop et subversion.
Giant sculptures by Paul McCarthy
Paul McCarthy, smart and provocative artist, exhibits giant sculptures, blown plastic. This huge mud exposed to Hong Kong immediately sets the style used by this contemporary artist, Blending spirit Pop and subversion.