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Paul McCarthy

Updated: Mar 23, 2018

McCarthy is an American sculptor, performance and video artist. Moreover, his works include sculpture, painting, drawing and photography; through them McCarthy criticizes the culture and the values system dominant in the United States.

McCarthy first developed a mode of violent performance painting, before he emerged as a performance artist in the early 1970s. He is interested in the parallels between American mass culture's pervasive infantilism and contemporary society's means of civilizing young children.


Through toys and educational TV shows, he attempted to blur all the boundaries between childhood innocence and adult knowledge and sexuality. His marked by excess, the paradox, the grotesque and the humor , it is often very dark.

To respond to the violence and hysteria of the world that surrounds us, McCarthy disrupts the more harmless icons (Snow White or Santa Claus), it demolishes the most eminent figures in the field of power (George Bush) or art (the 'abstract expressionist de Kooning), it dismantles the mechanisms media, consumerism, political, ideological, in an extravagant carnival masks, sex objects, ketchup, chocolate, etc..

Paul McCarty, Static Pink, 2004


The 5 characters Pirate Heads (2009), respectively called Captain Dick Hat, Eye Dick, Shit Face, Pot Head, Jack, I'm a savage parody of American society, its obsession with power and domination, both military (the works are were designed at the time of the U.S. intervention in Iraq) as sexual (the concepts of masculinity and manhood are reduced to their most squalid) is the ratio between the two spheres is a key reason the artist's work.


Plaster Clay Figures (2005), The Wedge (2004-2011), She Man (2004) and Paula Jones, 2010, are figures of naked women placed on work tables in the middle of the tools, materials and accessories used for their realization. Outraged in various ways, women have their faces hidden by masks that sweep away any connotation of identity or gender. The grotesque violence of this presentation is an attack against a society marked sexist oppression. The reference to reality is in some cases totally directed. Paula Jones, for example, alludes to the first woman who sued Bill Clinton for sexual harassment. After a show trial, the protagonist of the story posed for the magazine "Penthouse" and tried his television career, moving from the role of a victim of an alleged sexual abuse voluntary acceptance of another abuse of the media dictatorship.

Paul McCarthy, Paula Jones, 2007


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