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May 24 2013

Paul McCarthy: Life Cast / Hauser & Wirth New York 69th Street

Hauser & Wirth’s entire spring program in New York City is devoted to the artist Paul McCarthy. At Hauser & Wirth’s venue at 69th Street, the gallery presents Paul McCarthy: Life Cast, featuring platinum silicone life casts of the artist and Elyse Poppers, one of the key performers in his most recent projects Rebel Dabble Babble and WS. The exhibition runs until July 26, 2013.

Paul McCarthy: Life Cast / Hauser & Wirth New York 69th Street. Press preview, May 10, 2013. Video by Shimon Azulay.

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> On YouTube:

Excerpt from the press release:

‘Paul McCarthy: Life Cast’

Also opening to the public on 10 May at Hauser & Wirth’s townhouse on 69th Street, ‘Paul McCarthy: Life Cast’ (on view through 26 July) showcases highly developed themes and narratives coursing through and connecting different areas of McCarthy’s vast and complex practice. Here those themes are revealed through platinum silicone life casts – bravura replicas of the artist and Elyse Poppers, one of the key performers in his most recent projects ‘Rebel Dabble Babble’ and ‘WS’.

‘Horizontal’ (2013) is a haunting depiction of the artist in uncanny full-scale replica, naked and prone in the gallery’s skylit ground floor south room. ‘Horizontal’ is a recent ‘repetition-variation’ of the 2005 work ‘Paul Dreaming, Vertical, Horizontal’, in which the artist’s own body was molded standing upright. Defined by gravity’s pull, that earlier sculpture was half-clothed and subtly distorted, its belly and penis distended outward. While ‘Paul Dreaming’ elicits thoughts of death, it also suggests that the artist is very much alive and a bit of a bearded buffoon in socks and shirt, but no pants. ‘Horizontal’ presents an altogether different avatar and, in the artist’s words, ‘makes no bones about the fact this is someone dead, without the mask of a clown or the possibility of sleep and dreaming’. Cast with McCarthy in a prone position, this morgue-like caricature strikes a subversive note in which absurdity and pathos echo one another.

‘Horizontal’ was presaged by one of McCarthy’s earliest exhibited works, the hollow metal ‘Dead H’ (1968), also on view in ‘Paul McCarthy: Life Cast’. ‘Dead H’ – at first glance a Minimalist sculpture in the then-prevailing style – slyly mimics a dead body (and, coincidentally, a toppled twin of the first letter in Los Angeles’ famous Hollywood sign).

An ironic comment upon vanitas and the ambitions and fables of art and culture, McCarthy’s ‘Dead H’ is a fallen hero. Forty-five years later, the artist’s study of the body as a vehicle for liberation and exploitation continues full force. Works on view at 69th Street also include ‘Rubber Jacket Horizontal, Rubber H’, a poignant fragment from the life casting activities of the past year that captures a sunken and hollow portion of the artist’s own torso.

‘Paul McCarthy: Life Cast’ also presents four female figures of uncanny verisimilitude. All are life casts of Elyse Poppers achieved through a series of painstaking processes at the leading edge of special effects technology. ‘T.G. Awake’ (T.G. is an acronym for ‘That Girl’ and refers to another feminine icon, aspiring actress namesake of a hit 1960s situation comedy) is comprised of three life-sized casts of the actress in similar sitting positions, with her legs spread open to varying degrees and eyes cast in different directions. Together these static variations reference the magical effect by which a series of still images can be joined together to become film. ‘T.G. Awake’ found its origins in drawings that McCarthy made of his wife Karen in the 1960s and relates to the first White Snow pencil drawings of 2009. The sculpture ‘T.G. Asleep’ presents the same woman prone, her body curved and hands cupped, a counterpoint to the dead figure of ‘Horizontal’.

The exhibition also includes ‘That Girl’, a four-channel video installation based in the process by which ‘T.G. Awake’ and ‘T.G. Asleep’ were achieved. Capturing the molding process, the model’s live movement studies, and the documentation of these through deliberately positioned cameras, this work brings viewers into the action through which the sculptures on view were made. ‘Life casting liberates the literal through a kind of unifying monotone,’ McCarthy has said. ‘It creates a different representation of the original thing that lets me explore where reality and abstraction intersect’.



August 06 2012

Art and the City. Public Art Festival in Zürich West

Art and the City is a public art festival that runs from 9 June until 23 September 2012 in Zürich West, a district in Zürich (Switzerland) that has undergone a dramatic transformation in the recent years. To experience this up-and-coming city district of Zürich, Art and the City invited more than 40 artists and artist groups from all over the world for an exhibition that includes sculptures, installations, performances, posters and interventions. This video takes you on a rather subjective and selective tour of the exhibition on 1 August, the Swiss National Day (which explains the empty streets and the rubber dinghies).

The exhibition includes artists who have been addressing issues of urban development since the 1970s such as Richard Tuttle, Fred Sandback, Yona Friedman and Charlotte Posenenske, as well as a younger generation of artists such as Christian Jankowski, Oscar Tuazon, Los Carpinteros, and Ai Weiwei.

Art and the City has been initiated by the Public Art Task Force (Arbeitsgruppe Kunst im öffentlichen Raum). The exhibition has been put together by the freelance curator and writer Christoph Doswald.

Art and the City. Public Art Festival in Zürich West. Zürich (Switzerland), August 1, 2012.

PS: As part of the Art and the City Public Art Festival, walking artist Hamish Fulton performed one of his slow walks along the Limmat river, called Limmat Art Walk Zürich 2012.

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> On YouTube:

Photo set:

Artists and works in order of appearance in the video (for a complete list of the participating artists visit the Art and the City website):

Taiyo Onorato / Nico Krebs: Kameras (3), 2012
Richard Tuttle: The Pump (2008)
Bettina Pousttchi: Ahead Only, 2012
Franziska Furter: Mojo, 2012
Christian Jankowski: Die Grosse Geste, 2012
Oscar Tuazon: A Lamp, 2012
Charlotte Posenenske: Vierkantrohre Serie D (2), 1967/2012
Pierre Haubensack: Netz, 2011
Not Vital: The No Problem Sculpture, 2012
Paul McCarthy: Apple Tree Boy Apple Tree Girl, 2010
Arcangelo Sassolino: Elisa, 2012
Karsten Födinger: Untitled, 2012
Wilfredo Prieto: Apolitico, 2001
Manfred Pernice: Orion_Renaissance, 2012
Valentin Carron: Ca-Tarac-Ta, 2012
Marjetica Potrc / Eva Pfannes, Sylvain Hartenberg (OOZE): The Public Space Society, 2012
Frank Stella: De Schouw, 2012
Vaness Billy: Lifting the Earth, 2012
Saâne Afif: The Soapbox of Schiffbauplatz, 2012
Alex Hanimann: Vanessa, 2012
Los Carpinteros: Catedrales, 2012
Thomas Houseago: Hands & Feet III, 2011
Ai Weiwei: Sofa in White, 2011

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February 02 2012

Mike Kelley: LA baroque

Kelley's untimely death reminds me that his strange, fresh, punk-personal work made him defiantly an artist of Los Angeles

Mike Kelley's last exhibition in London was called Exploded Fortress of Solitude. At its heart was a darkly crystalline cave, a grotto of synthetic materials. Inside it, props from a fantasy film (the title was a reference to Superman's secret hideout at the North Pole) seemed to offer a secret that remained elusive. Other exhibits had the same feel of tacky science fiction and mythology, from fragments of a shattered Greek colossal statue to a film of piratical Sadeian shenanigans.

Every work of art I saw by Kelley was fresh, strange, and intensely personal. The touch of the artist is what post-conceptual art is supposed to lack – and sometimes does. But Kelley always seemed to be doing something he needed to do and, more enigmatically, saying something he needed to say.

His death at the age of 57 is all the sadder for seeming, from early reports, to be self-inflicted. Here was one of the most celebrated artists of our time, represented by one of the most powerful galleries and widely feted for his insouciant originality. But friends have reported deep despair or depression.

Could you perceive that in his last British show? There was certainly dissipation and consuming irony and macabre humour. But that went with the territory. Kelley was not just an artist; he was a Los Angeles artist, one of the distinctive, mordant voices who made this sprawling west coast city famous – in some circles anyway – for contemporary art as well as films, music, and driving.

Along with Paul McCarthy, with whom he sometimes collaborated, Kelley drew attention to the defiantly counter-cultural Los Angeles art scene. Paradoxically, under the shadow of Hollywood which might lead you to expect conformity, artists on the west coast have often been more independent, wilful, and socially critical than their New York peers. The punk attitudes of Mike Kelley echo the earlier sensibilities of west coast artists such as Ed Kienholz and Dennis Hopper (photographer as well as film star).

Kelley and McCarthy shared the unease of these earlier Californian artists – but made it louder, brasher, more forceful than ever before. The sprawl and epic clutter of Kelley's vision matched Los Angeles itself: perhaps the right word for his art is LA baroque, for, just as artists in 17th-century Italy gave the corrupt Rome of the popes an art to match its power, so did Kelley give LA a mirror big and black enough to do it justice. His shock death is another chapter in the tabloid history of the modern world's most revolutionary city. © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

November 17 2011

Paul McCarthy – review

Hauser & Wirth, London

Reader alert: the following is unpleasant. An identical pair of animatronic sculptures of George W Bush are having anal sex with pigs in Hauser & Wirth's Savile Row gallery. The pigs are also gamely porking one another to riotous sound-effect squeals and the motorised wheeze of servo-powered pistons. The sculptures are beginning to look a teensy bit flayed. As you approach, the twin Bush sculptures swivel their heads and give you a Terminator stare, their pink silicon bodies still humping away. This isn't the first time that LA artist Paul McCarthy has gone bestial, though repetition never killed any artist. You could call it rigour, or evidence of a one-track mind. Going beyond taste is part of McCarthy's schtick.

But whose eyes water now at the sight of McCarthy's giant butt-plugs, or the huge pendulous pair of testicles that dangle from a rickety wooden gibbet? They are mere incidents in a huge and inane raft of abused art materials and abandoned forms. McCarthy is nothing if not copious.

McCarthy himself, or rather his hairy, life-sized body-cast doppelganger, is enthroned in Hauser & Wirth's Piccadilly gallery, in front of rows of empty church pews. Pot-bellied and naked, he is a mute and impotent king, cable-tied to his chair and surrounded with painting supplies. This is the artist as fallen hero, sage and fool.

Repainted, blown-up photographs lean against the walls: Britney Spears and Paris Hilton, an upside-down Henry Fonda in a cowboy hat, a pornstar money-shot and an old Playboy cartoon. These are tawdry images for dismal times, emptied of shock or even surprise. Once, in his hilarious and savage video Painter, McCarthy played a whining and infantile abstract expressionist, an overgrown baby dabbling in paint and screaming for money. Now he is both elevated and debased, sitting it out on a wooden stage. Down in the gallery's basement, there's a video running in which an assistant is having a go at the artist's replica with an electric carving-knife. Parody and mock yourself this much and you save the critic the job of complaint.

Occupying space after space with defaced heads, gooey residues and evidence of crimes against sculpted humanity, McCarthy's show fills every room of Hauser & Wirth's Piccadilly and Savile Row galleries. A black and tarry ship of fools looms under the plane trees of St James's Square, and he has a further show running concurrently in New York. McCarthy in his 60s has become reprehensibly respectable, and ever more repetitious as time wears on. One recent video installation is no more shocking than a beauty salon depilation promo.

This show often feels stretched, pumped-up and going through the motions rather than genuinely violent and atavistic, the qualities I always liked in McCarthy's horrible and sometimes frightening world. Where do you go when you've already gone too far? McCarthy's self-portrait as king might well be a comment on his own artistic fate, and for that reason is the best thing here. Where once his art looked dangerous and subversive, rumbustious and bracingly obscene, his ever more strident antics now look tired, their bite gummy. This, more often than not, is the fate of an art of shocks. We get inured to it, as does its maker. What might become of the artist in late lyrical mode, when he gets beyond the pigs and the drool, the daily hump and grind of the big-career artist? Maybe McCarthy will sleep through it all, like the king in his dotage.

Rating: 3/5 © 2011 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

April 14 2011

Art Cologne 2011 Highlights: Paul McCarthy at Hauser & Wirth

On the opening day of Art Cologne 2011, we met with several art dealers and galerists. In this video, Dr. Bettina Krogemann speaks with Anna Helwing, Associate Director of Hauser & Wirth Gallery about the works of Paul McCarthy. Coming soon: Visits to the booths of Aurel Scheibler / Scheibler Mitte, Galerie Hans Strelow, Galerie Levy, and Galerie Jahn. These interviews are in German language.

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January 05 2011

VernissageTV PDF-Magazine No. 15: The One, The Many, One Artist, Four Rooms, Miami

Out now: VernissageTV PDF-magazine No. 15, January 2011. In this issue we look back at Art Basel Miami Beach Week with an Miami Basel Overview by FADs Editor at Large Ben Austin (click here for his article at FAD) and photos by Sabine Trieloff, Mark Vogel, and Didier Leroi. (Photos by Didier Leroi and Gregor Rieser).

What else? An art meets design exhibition in Vienna; Pipilotti Rist, Roman Signer and Marc Newson in New York; Paul McCarthy in Los Angeles; Aaron Curry and Moniker in London; Argonaut Mathilda in Istanbul; and Elmgreen & Dragset’s “Celebrity – The One & the Many” at ZKM in Karlsruhe.

Click image or this link to download the magazine (14 MB) or hit the jump to view in Issuu Reader.

View in Issuu Reader:

October 05 2010

Paul McCarthy: Three Sculptures / Inaugural Exhibition at L&M Arts Gallery, Los Angeles

On September 25, 2010, New York gallery L&M Arts opened a branch in Los Angeles. The inaugural exhibition Paul McCarthy: Three Sculptures features three new large-scale sculptures by Paul McCarthy. The artist’s first exhibition in his hometown in a decade features Apple Tree Boy Apple Tree Girl (2010), Ship of Fools, Ship Adrift (2010), and Train, Mechanical (2003-2010).

Paul McCarthy was born in Salt Lake City, UT in 1945 and lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. Recent major exhibitions of his work include “Central Symmetrical Rotation Movement – Three Installations, Two Films,” Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2008); “Paul McCarthy – Head Shop/Shop Head,” Moderna Museet, Stockholm (2006), which toured to ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Aarhus, and S.M.A.K., Ghent (both 2007); and “Paul McCarthy: LaLa Land Parody Paradise,” Haus der Kunst, Munich, which toured to Whitechapel Gallery, London (both 2005).

A fully illustrated book, Hummel, and a catalogue, Three Sculptures, accompany the exhibition L&M Arts Gallery Los Angeles, with essays by the artist, Diedrich Diederichsen, and Benjamin Weissman.

Paul McCarthy: Three Sculptures. L&M Arts Gallery, Los Angeles. Preview and opening reception, September 24/25, 2010. The exhibition runs through November 7, 2010.

> Right-click (Mac: ctrl-click) this link to download Quicktime video file.

From the press release:

“Train, Mechanical (2003-2010) is a fully automated tour-de-force that features a George Bush/pirate hybrid mounting a pig from behind, while another pig humps the same pig’s skull, finding aural penetration. This scenario then repeats itself in a figurative “train.” The work finds visual precedent in earlier sculptures with the same cast of characters and related configurations, such as Train, Mechanical, Pig Island (2007), Mountain (2009) and Static (2004-2009). All of these works stem from Pig Island; this perpetual work in progress, inspired by the Disney ride Pirates of the Caribbean, emphasizes process as sculpture. Many sculptures were spawned from this fertile environment full of political satire, cultural commentary, and playful experimentation with various modes of art production. In Train, Mechanical, McCarthy has also found inspiration from an ongoing fascination with carnival rides and mechanized mannequins, first seen in his seminal work The Garden (1991-1992). Train, Mechanical takes this early interest to new heights. Here, one experiences fully articulated body parts, right down to the male figure’s pursed lips and the pigs heaving chest – all in the service of a mesmerizing tableau that redefines sculptural form.

Also included in the exhibition are the latest works from McCarthy’s Hummel series, writ large and executed on a monumental scale. The mid-century Germanic kitsch figurines of the same name inspired the Hummels, first shown in Zurich in 2009, depicting rosy-cheeked children in idyllic repose. In McCarthy’s world, however, this Aryan innocence becomes a target for parody, and ultimately, defilement and disfigurement. Their deformed innocence suggests the conditioning of children, from Hitler youth to contemporary, TV-addled teen consumers. Ship of Fools, Ship Adrift (2010) derives from a saccharine nautical scene, and is reworked as an eight ton, black-bronze carnival at sea. The figures of children are decomposed; their lyrical voices halted by pipes ripping through their youthful vocal cords. It appears adorable and obscene all at once. In Apple Tree Boy Apple Tree Girl (2010), a miniature Adam and Eve find themselves reborn as an eighteen foot überkinder; they remain only a suggestion of their former selves, almost sweetly deformed and just to the point of abstraction. These darling figures teeter between portraits of childlike purity and a Garden of Eden gone terribly wrong.”


June 21 2010

Art 41 Basel Highlights by Art – Das Kunstmagazin: Beckmann, Bourgeois, McCarthy, van Liefland

The Highlights of the international show for Modern and contemporary art, Art 41 Basel 2010 as selected by Ute Thon (Art – Das Kunstmagazin): Louise Bourgois at Karsten Greve, Max Beckmann at Jörg Maaß, Paul McCarthy at Hauser & Wirth, and Joep van Liefland at Galerie Gebr. Lehmann (in German language).

Art 41 Basel 2010 Highlights. Basel / Switzerland, June 16, 2010. Interviews: Ute Thon, Art – Das Kunstmagazin.

> Right-click (Mac: ctrl-click) this link to download Quicktime video file.


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