Paul McCarthy Provokes in New Shows
By Ted Loos
At the preview event for Paul McCarthy’s “WS” at the Park Avenue Armory, which opened June 19 and runs until August 4, I was amused to see Serious Collector Types trying not to look shocked. It is definitely a learned skill in the higher echelons of the art world to put on a blasé face even when you feel like wincing, or running the other way. And the more outré the scene, the more measured the visage.
McCarthy’s two current exhibitions in NYC—he also has “Rebel Dabble Babble” at Hauser & Wirth Gallery for the summer—both see him testing the limits of shock value. He has always been a provocateur, mining sweet fairy tales and cartoons for dark weirdness. But with these shows, he’s pushing it even further.
1. Paul McCarthy, “WS,” 2013. Image: Courtesy of the artist and Hauser & Wirth. Photo by Joshua White.
2. Paul McCarthy, “WS,” 2013. Image: Courtesy of the artist and Hauser & Wirth. Photo by Joshua White.
3. Paul McCarthy, “WS,” 2013. Park Avenue Armory Installation photo by James Ewing.