press release

New York, New York - The Public Art Fund presents pioneering Los Angeles-based artist Paul McCarthy's installation The Box at 590 Madison Avenue (56th Street) from February 21 through April 20 2001.

Within the soaring glass atrium of 590 Madison, visitors encounter a simple wooden box constructed 50' in length and almost 20' high. The outside of the sculpture is made of unfinished wood, and as viewers peer in through a window at one end of the construction they are met with a space that is clearly not domestic, looks like a strange workshop cluttered with boxes, tools, found objects, and video equipment. On closer inspection the box contains the entire contents of McCarthy's studio but in a mind-boggling twist, the box (and thus the studio itself) has been set on its side. The tables, chairs and shelves protrude horizontally from the wall of the box rather than the floor, and in gravity-defying manner, every piece of furniture and paper, every video cassette, mannequin, and tool is suspended between the box's floor and ceiling.

Set at 90 degrees, McCarthy's studio-in-a-box becomes a physically disorienting, surreal portal. Seeing the space through the frame of one of the studio's rectangular windows, the sculpture is transformed into a monumental 3-D painting that stretches 50' to the rear of the room. The floor becomes a wall, the wall becomes the ceiling, the ceiling becomes another wall, and a wall becomes the floor.

The Box contains every one of the studio's thousands of actual objects and is complete with openings that are identical in location and size to windows and doors of the actual studio. The contents of The Box are all placed in exactly the same (seemingly chaotic) position as they were in the original studio. The nature of the box's interior, its distorted perspective, enormous length and unbelievable clutter charge the space with an obsessive, disconcerting quality.

Originally conceived and fabricated for McCarthy's exhibition "Dimensions of the Mind: the Denial and the Desire of Spectacle" at the roundhouse in St. Gallen, Switzerland (1999), The Box references the artist's earlier inverted photographs series of rooms and corridors created in the 1970's. McCarthy plays a large-scale game of "peek-a-boo", revealing the studio, but simultaneously abstracting the space by showing the disjointed parts of yet-to-be-made artworks, the reality of the "ready made" and the artificial skin between art object and non-art object.

The Public Art Fund's exhibition of The Box is presented in collaboration with the New Museum of Contemporary Art's Paul McCarthy survey, February 24 through May 13, 2001.

This exhibition is made possible by The Silverweed Foundation and is presented in collaboration with the Sculpture Garden at 590 Madison which is jointly managed by Minskoff Properties and PaceWildenstein.

Paul McCarthy's The Box is courtesy of Sammlung Hauser und Wirth, St. Gallen, Switzerland.

About Paul McCarthy Paul McCarthy is known for his raw, visceral work which has taken form in a wide variety of media (photography, painting, performance, sculpture, video, installation, drawing, painting) ranging in scale from monumental to intimate. Fueled by the real versus the imaginary, and revealment versus concealment, McCarthy creates a dynamic tension between the artwork and the viewer. Playing on illusions and cultural myths, the melding of human physicality with architecture, crossing boundaries, and confounding expectations, McCarthy's work often embodies obsessive activities and challenges expected physical orientation.

Born in Salt Lake City in 1945, McCarthy studied at the University of Utah and at the San Francisco Art Institute where he received his B.F.A. in 1969. He continued his studies at the University of Southern California where he received a M.F.A. in 1973. He is currently a professor in the fine arts department at UCLA where he has influenced successive generations of artists. Pressetext

Paul McCarthy - The Box
Ort: 590 Madison Avenue at 56th Street