press release

The most comprehensive show of American artist Paul McCarthy in Europe comes to the Whitechapel.

Born in 1945 in Salt Lake City, Utah, McCarthy is one of the most internationally renowned and influential artists of his generation. Drawing on American and European myths, his work transposes popular icons ranging from Pinocchio to Santa Claus into disturbing and carnivalesque scenarios. His inspiration is taken from figures as diverse as Sigmund Freud, Samuel Beckett and Andy Warhol.

The artist's provocative performances of the late 1960s and 70s use his body as material and take masculinity as subject matter. Drawing on the legacy of performance art and action painting, he substituted the Viennese Actionists sacrificial use of blood with ketchup and the Abstract Expressionist's paintbrush with phallic prosthetics. McCarthy's stage sets, masks and props became in the1980s and 90s, sculptures, mechanised figures, video installations and environments that are often violent and sexually and politically charged.

The Whitechapel exhibition shows drawings, sculptures, films and installations that range from a life-size waxwork of the artist asleep to an automated breathing, dreaming pig. The exhibition continues off-site, where a major new work titled Pirate Project is installed in a warehouse near the Gallery. Pirate Project developed from a conversation between the artist and his son, taking the Pirates of the Caribbean themepark ride in Disneyland as their inspiration to explore themes of settlement and penetration of foreign lands. A life-sized frigate, a houseboat and a huge kinetic machine bare the gory remains of a month long film shoot featuring some 30 buccaneers and wenches engaged in increasingly brutal antics. Sexual drives, castration and colonisation are just some of the themes that emerge in this doppelganger amusement park.

Further to recent projects including the installation of giant inflatables outside Tate Modern in 2003 and a retrospective at the New Museum in New York in 2000, this major exhibition from the Haus der Kunst, Munich, is the culmination of several years work and presented in the UK for the first time.

At once violent, obscene and grotesque, McCarthy's visions raid the collective unconscious to revisit popular myths that resonate with contemporary global events and provide a cathartic platform. PTO

Paul McCarthy - LaLa Land Parody Paradise replaces Richard Prince.

Paul McCarthy - LaLa Land Parody Paradise was organised by Haus der Kunst, Munich.


only in german

Paul McCarthy - LaLa Land Parody Paradise
Organisation: Haus der Kunst, München

12.06.05 - 28.08.05 Haus der Kunst, München
23.10.05 - 08.01.06 Whitechapel Art Gallery, London