Los-Angeles-based artist Paul McCarthy (b.1945) creates Disneyesque installations, sculptures of animal/vegetable/human hybrids and slapstick performances in a purge of a national subconscious. The psycho-sexual desires and anxieties induced by the media and the built environment of contemporary America emerge in his collisions of plastic prosthetic limbs and condiments that stand in for bodily fluids.
These works have been variously deployed: through live actions, often documented on video, and more recently in outsized figures and artificial rural environments, combined in overtly sexual ways. McCarthy’s work echoes that of European artists such as Joseph Beuys or the Viennese Aktionistes, but gives ‘action art’ a postmodern twist. This is the first comprehensive survey of over twenty years of work by a profoundly influential artist whose work is in the collections of the world’s most important museums.