Paul McCarthy: Anti Symbols


Born in Salt Lake City in 1945, artist Paul McCarthy studied at the San Francisco Art Institute. He has worked with various media, including performance art and sculpture. In fact, McCarthy's use of inflatable sculpture has been celebrated with solo exhibitions at Hauser & Wirth, Zärich; Salt Lake Art Center; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Maccarone Gallery, New York; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; London's Whitechapel Gallery; Tate Liverpool and more. His art shows feature massive and large inflatable sculptures. McCarthy focuses on sex, aggression and the current mainstream of violence in daily mass media. But still, it's funny to see an enormous black plug between some trees. Or two pigs, of which one's head was chopped off. The use of the inflatable reflects an inflated society. Varying in size from four metres to over 24, the inflatables are huge "anti-symbols" of the consumer society. Santa Claus with Plug, which is along the lines of McCarthy's similar bronze statue in Rotterdam, is almost 25 meters tall. The inflatables are, accordingly, accompanied by several new sculptures inspired by icons of everyday consumerist society. McCarthy deliberately pushes the bounds of decency in his work. "In my pieces I like the thought of mixing anarchy and humour," he has said; such an agenda is evident in Santa Butt Plug, in which the classic figure of Santa Claus is sexualized.