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Unplugged: Controversial Xmas ‘Tree’ sculpture deflated by vandals
07:05 am


Paul McCarthy
Christmas tree

This morning Parisians awoke to find Paul McCarthy’s controversial sculpture “Tree” looking like a discarded giant prophylactic after it was deflated by vandals at the Place Vendôme, Paris, during the night.

Since its installation the art work has divided opinion with many Parisians outraged by the 80 foot sculpture’s similarity to an… er… adult novelty item. Well, it now turns out that “Tree” was indeed inspired by that very item as artist McCarthy told Le Monde newspaper that “It all started as a joke.”

“...I realised it resembled a Christmas tree, but it is an abstract work. People can be offended if they want to think of it as a plug, but for me it is more of an abstraction.”

The “abstraction” was lost on some Parisians with one irate passerby slapping the 69-year-old artist in the face and shouting:

“You’re not French and this has no place in the square.”

McCarthy was allegedly dazed but unhurt by the assault and asked:

“Does this sort of thing happen often in Paris?”

The sculpture was specially created by the artist for Paris’s International Contemporary Art Fair (FIAC) that is being held in the city between 23rd-26th October. McCarthy’s previous work includes an enormous Santa Claus with what some critics claim is an unfeasibly large implement in his hand and a sculpture of former US President George W Bush getting intimate with pigs.

In the early hours of Saturday morning, vandals climbed the metal fence surrounding the giant sculpture before cutting the power supply that pumped air into the inflatable and slashing the tether that kept it upright.

According to the Daily Telegraph, McCarthy said he did not want the sculpture re-inflated or repaired. However, the paper also reported that organisers at FIAC said the sculpture would be “re-installed” as soon as possible. Now, that sounds painful…

Via the Daily Telegraph

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
No butts, it’s a Christmas tree?
06:58 am


Paul McCarthy

I know what some of you are thinking—but you’re wrong: this is a giant inflatable Christmas tree. Well, an installation actually (or is it sculpture?) by American artist Paul McCarthy.

The clue is in the title: “Tree” and its color—green.

McCarthy specifically designed “Tree” for the Foire Internationale d’Art Contemporain (Fiac) or the contemporary art fair being held in Paris between the 23rd and 26th October.

However, it appears this 80ft erection (stop sniggering…) in the stylish Place Vendome has been “making passers-by feel a little uncomfortable” because, as France TV Info reports, many Parisians are unable to associate this festive installation with “the magic of the holidays”(!)

Understandably, this confusion led to much jocularity on Twitter.



And the usual seething outrage from the far-right groups like Printemps Francais who tweeted their disgust about the work:

“Taxpayers – this is where your money goes!” said one post, while another claimed the Place Vendome had been “disfigured” and Paris “humiliated”.

Meanwhile the British free newspaper Metro is running a poll on exactly what their readers think the piece represents.

I am sure the 69-year-old artist McCarthy is probably used to this kind of debate over his art. Last year, McCarthy outraged/amused the Chinese with his giant “turd” installation “Complex Pile” in Hong Kong—which when put together with “Tree” does suggest a vague theme going on his work…

Via France TV Info

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Paul McCarthy’s ‘The Painter’: Art attack!
12:10 pm


Paul McCarthy
The Painter

For a brief period in the late 1940s, Salvador Dali and Walt Disney Studios collaborated on some animation projects, one of which, “Destino,” actually got made. Performance artist Paul McCarthy, known for spinning Disney into nightmares, ventures into the realm of the comically absurd in The Painter (1995). Satirizing William de Kooning, the abstract impressionists, and artists in general. The Painter (1995) mimics, in its lo-tech way, the outrages of Dali and Bunuel’s Un Chien Andalou with a deranged Mouseketeers on brown acid vibe. In his own weird, transgressive, way, McCarthy takes up where Dali and Disney left off, drawing from pop culture, the high and the low, and tossing them into the Cuisinart of his feverish and fertile imagination. Imagine Snow White and Pinocchio starring in a collaboration between Takashi Miike and Pee Wee Herman.

The Painter (1995) is a brilliant interrogation of the senility and late paintings of Willem de Kooning, complete with collectors and dealers puppet-mastering around him. It’s a video deploying, as so many of his videos do, the mise-en-scène of instructional television (from the Galloping Gourmet to Martha Stewart), but one in which the painter mumbles and cries: ‘You can’t do it anymore you can’t do it anymore.’ And later: ‘I can’t do this anymore.’ He means painting, he means art-making, he may mean life. At the end of The Painter the artist gets up on a table, pulls down his pants and a collector with a protuberant fake nose sniffs at his bare arse, McCarthy’s own.”

Here’s The Painter in all of its visceral glory, where art is more than an extension of consciousness, it’s an extension of the lower gastrointestinal tract. 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Paul McCarthy’s Wild Gone Girls!
12:20 pm


Paul McCarthy
Helter Skelter

What if Pasolini’s Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom was performed by The Three Stooges?  Well, it might come out looking something like the work of L.A.-based artist, Paul McCarthy.  Although he probably first captured national attention with MOCA’s infamous Helter Skelter show in ‘92, McCarthy’s been working with “the primal substances of life—blood, pus, urine, feces, sperm, milk, sweat,” ever since the ‘70s.

Below is a more recent work from ‘03, WGG (Wild Gone Girls)Ubu describes it thusly: “Depicting a sailing party gone wrong, McCarthy questions the effects that violence and mutilation, both real and simulated, have on the viewer in contemporary culture.”  Maybe so.  But strip away the cozy, art-speak contextualizing.  Couldn’t that be said, too, for something like, oh…Wes Craven’s, Last House On The Left from ‘72?  WARNING: McCarthy’s WGG = not for the squeamish!

In the NYT: Fairy Tales, But Strictly Adults-Only

Posted by Bradley Novicoff | Leave a comment
Airway To Fly Into NYC

Once again, time for another guest post from Dangerous Minds pal, main Medicine man, and one of my dear childhood friends, Mr. Brad Laner:

Airway, the “noise orchestra” led by Joe Potts are one of the original mainstay bands of the fabled Los Angeles Free Music Society.  Issuing a string of self-released and very homemade-feeling LPs which had a broad effect upon the world of experimental music, the LAFMS emerged out of the suburban haze of California’s San Gabriel Valley in the mid-‘70’s.

Being huge influences on the likes of Nurse With Wound, Keiji Haino (who evidently traveled to L.A. in the early ‘80’s with the sole purpose of finding and playing with Airway) and, most certainly, yours truly (plus, really, anybody who’s made improvisational noise music since the mid-‘70’s), it’s a bit amazing to report that Airway will be making their first ever appearance outside of L.A. this month as part of a nice-sounding hoedown called A FANTASTIC WORLD SUPERIMPOSED ON REALITY: A SELECT HISTORY OF EXPERIMENTAL MUSIC, a “Mini-Festival to Present an Exciting Line-Up of Key Musicians and Artists Who Developed the Dynamic Trajectory of Experimental Noise Music.”

The whole thing is curated by artist Mike Kelly, who will also be performing with LAFMS/Airway alumni Tom Recchion, Fredrik Nilsen, Joe Potts and visionary genius Paul McCarthy as Extended Organ (see them below playing at L.A.‘s Schindler House).

Bonus amusement: Attention, Joe Potts!  Some punk kids have stolen your rad, emo-ready band name.  Time to lawyer up!

Posted by Bradley Novicoff | Leave a comment