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Chaos & DebaucheryPaul McCarthy
Filmed in his Los Angeles studio, two of Paul McCarthy’s long-time assistants—Thomas Harris and Craig McIntyre—describe the process of sculpting, molding, and fabricating the artist’s large-scale works.
Likening McCarthy’s artistic approach to taking a “snapshot of disorder” that’s then meticulously reproduced, Harris and McIntyre discuss how the formal qualities of the work dovetail with themes of chaos and debauchery.More information and credits
Producer: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Interview: Susan Sollins. Camera: Robert Elfstrom. Sound: Doug Dunderdale. Editor: Joaquin Perez. Artwork Courtesy: Paul McCarthy. Special Thanks: Thomas Harris & Craig McIntyre. Video: © 2012, Art21, Inc. All rights reserved.
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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.