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"Central Symmetrical Rotation Movement"Paul McCarthy

May 13, 2011

Artist Paul McCarthy discusses his interest in art as political theater and his sculptures as akin to amusement park rides. Featuring the works Bang Bang Room (1992), Spinning Room (2008), and Mad House (2008) in the exhibition Paul McCarthy: Central Symmetrical Rotation Movement, Three Installations, Two Films (2008) at the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Whether conflating real-world political figures with fantastical characters such as Santa Claus, or treating erotic and abject content with frivolity and charm, McCarthy’s work confuses codes, mixes high and low culture, and provokes an analysis of fundamental beliefs.

More information and credits

Credits

Producer: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Interview: Susan Sollins. Camera: Bob Elfstrom & Richard Numeroff. Sound: Doug Dunderdale & Merce Williams. Editor: Joaquin Perez. Artwork Courtesy: Paul McCarthy. Special Thanks: Whitney Museum of American Art. Video: © 2011, Art21, Inc. All rights reserved.

Closed captionsAvailable in English, German, Romanian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Italian

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Paul McCarthy

Paul McCarthy’s video-taped performances and provocative multimedia installations lampoon polite society, ridicule authority, and bombard the viewer with a sensory overload, of often sexually-tinged, violent imagery. With irreverent wit, McCarthy often takes aim at cherished American myths and icons—Walt Disney, the Western, and even the Modern Artist—adding a touch of malice to subjects that have been traditionally revered for their innocence or purity. Whether conflating real-world political figures with fantastical characters such as Santa Claus, or treating erotic and abject content with frivolity and charm, McCarthy’s work confuses codes, mixes high and low culture, and provokes an analysis of fundamental beliefs.

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Paul McCarthy

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Paul McCarthy