Paul McCarthy

American, b. 1945

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Paul McCarthy

American, b. 1945

3,664
Followers
Biography

Paul McCarthy is recognized for his provocative, some would say tasteless, performances, multi-media installations, and sculptures that irreverently fuse high and low culture in their biting but humorous critique of American mythology and accepted societal norms. Santa Claus porn videos, Hummel figurine parodies, and chocolate butt plugs are among McCarthy’s most well known pieces. For Train, Mechanical (2003-09), McCarthy created a pair of larger-than-life animated sculptures of George W. Bush mounting pigs from behind. “I'm interested in caricatures—from Miss Piggy to Popeye to Santa Claus—that are cultural fabrications,” McCarthy explains. “Santa is one that I've hung on to longer, that I repeat more. There's the whole thing of Christmas and consumption and commodity, and its relationship to capitalism and Western culture and Americana. The character itself is this roly-poly patriarch with a beard—almost a godlike figure.”

Related Categories
Career Highlights
Learn more about artist insights.
Blue chip status
Blue chip representation
Represented by internationally reputable galleries.
Auction
High auction record
$5m, Christie's, 2011
User
Solo show at a major institution
Tate Modern, and 4 more
Group
Group show at a major institution
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and 22 more
Institution
Collected by a major institution
Tate, and 1 more
Publication
Reviewed by a major art publication
Artforum, and 6 more
Fair
Included in a major biennial
Venice Biennale International Exhibition, and 3 more
Biography

Paul McCarthy is recognized for his provocative, some would say tasteless, performances, multi-media installations, and sculptures that irreverently fuse high and low culture in their biting but humorous critique of American mythology and accepted societal norms. Santa Claus porn videos, Hummel figurine parodies, and chocolate butt plugs are among McCarthy’s most well known pieces. For Train, Mechanical (2003-09), McCarthy created a pair of larger-than-life animated sculptures of George W. Bush mounting pigs from behind. “I'm interested in caricatures—from Miss Piggy to Popeye to Santa Claus—that are cultural fabrications,” McCarthy explains. “Santa is one that I've hung on to longer, that I repeat more. There's the whole thing of Christmas and consumption and commodity, and its relationship to capitalism and Western culture and Americana. The character itself is this roly-poly patriarch with a beard—almost a godlike figure.”

Career Highlights
Learn more about artist insights.
Blue chip status
Blue chip representation
Represented by internationally reputable galleries.
Auction
High auction record
$5m, Christie's, 2011
User
Solo show at a major institution
Tate Modern, and 4 more
Group
Group show at a major institution
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and 22 more
Institution
Collected by a major institution
Tate, and 1 more
Publication
Reviewed by a major art publication
Artforum, and 6 more
Fair
Included in a major biennial
Venice Biennale International Exhibition, and 3 more
Shows Featuring Paul McCarthy
Articles Featuring Paul McCarthy
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Jun 23rd, 2020
What Sold at Frieze New York Online
May 12th, 2020
This Danish Mega-Collector Launched His Latest Private Museum in Brooklyn
Dec 19th, 2019
The Art World’s New Pre-Hong Kong Destination
Mar 24th, 2018
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