press release

PUBLIC OPENING RECEPTION: Tuesday, January 27, 2009, 6–8 p.m.

Paul McCarthy’s Low Life Slow Life is an autobiographical exhibition curated by Paul McCarthy, presenting a diverse range of artists and artworks related to his memories of his career. This is the second half of this two-part show. It centers on McCarthy’s years in Los Angeles from 1970 to the present, emphasizing the emergence of alternative performance practices, Conceptual art, installation art, and video art. The exhibition is organized by Jens Hoffmann, Wattis Institute director, and Stacen Berg, Wattis Institute assistant curator.

McCarthy's curatorial selections are eclectic and unconventional, deriving more from his personal recollections than from any historical, objective measure of artistic influence. An extensive film program accompanies the show, including films by Guy Debord, Valie Export, Kurt Kren, Les Levine, Bruce Nauman, and Michael Snow. Visit for a full list of films and screen times. All film showings are free and open to the public.

A catalog of more than 500 pages serves both as an extension of the show and as an archive of images that have influenced McCarthy’s career and curatorial selections. It includes an introduction by Jens Hoffmann and an interview with McCarthy by Jens Hoffmann and Stacen Berg. It will be available in May 2009; you may preorder a copy by emailing

Although McCarthy did not achieve international recognition until the 1990s, he has been an influential figure on California’s art scene for more than 30 years. His early performance work of the 1970s explored the body and sexuality. The intensity of these performances, which often included graphic depictions of taboo subjects, eventually led him to further explorations and exploitations of video and film, special effects, and large-scale installations as he continually strove to heighten the effect of his work. Today McCarthy is considered one of the most influential living American artists.

About the CCA Wattis Institute The Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts was established in 1998 in San Francisco at California College of the Arts. It serves as a forum for the presentation and discussion of international contemporary art and curatorial practice. Through groundbreaking exhibitions, the Capp Street Project residency program, lectures, symposia, and publications, the Wattis Institute has become one of the leading art institutions in the United States and an active site for contemporary culture in the Bay Area.

Support for Paul McCarthy’s Low Life Slow Life: Part 2 is provided by Robin Wright and Ian Reeves. Additional support provided by Outset Contemporary Art Fund.

Founding support for CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts programs has been provided by Phyllis C. Wattis and Judy and Bill Timken. Generous support provided by the Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation, Grants for the Arts / San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund, Ann Hatch and Paul Discoe, and the CCA Curator’s Forum.

PARTICIPATING ARTISTS: Guy Debord, Walt Disney, Valie Export, Howard Fried, Rachel Khedoori, Kurt Kren, Maria Lassnig, Les Levine, Bruce Nauman, Dennis Oppenheim, Lil Picard, Michael Snow

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Paul McCarthy’s Low Life Slow Life: Part 2
kuratiert von Paul McCarthy

Künstler: Guy Debord, Walt Disney, VALIE EXPORT, Howard Fried, Rachel Khedoori, Kurt Kren, Maria Lassnig, Les Levine, Bruce Nauman, Dennis Oppenheim, Lil Picard, Michael Snow