Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Paul McCarthy

Paul McCarthy Black and White Tapes 1970-75

Paul McCarthy, Painter, 1995. Video
Paul McCarthy
Painter, 1995. Video

McCarthy Videos - Be Warned

McCarthy's work is heavily influenced by Viennese Actionism, seeking to break the limitations of painting by using the body as a paintbrush or even canvas; later, he incorporated bodily fluids or food into his works. In a 1974 video, Painting, Wall Whip, he painted with his head and face, "smearing his body with paint and then with ketchup, mayonnaise or raw meat and, in one case, feces."[2] His work evolved from pushing painting to the limit, using the body as canvas and as paintbrush, and eventually substituting bodily fluids or food for paint and then moving on to psychosexual events that fly in the face of social convention, testing the emotional limits of both artist and viewer. An example of this is his 1976 piece Class Fool, where McCarthy threw himself around a ketchup spattered UCSD classroom until dazed and injured. He then vomited several times and inserted a Barbie doll into his rectum.[1] The piece ended when the audience could no longer stand to watch his performance.[1] McCarthy's work in the 1990s, such as Painter (1995), often seeks to undermine the idea of "the myth of artistic greatness" and attacks the perception of the heroic male artist.[1]

Paul McCarthy, The Garden. 1992. Installation, Collection Jeffrey Deitch, New York, NY
Paul McCarthy
The Garden. 1992. Installation
Collection Jeffrey Deitch, New York, NY

"These shows reveal—in at times excruciatingly nauseating depth—an artist who has to be considered and learned from, if not exactly embraced. McCarthy's art is hardcore and hard to take. It's bitter, monotonous, histrionic, and juvenile. His stories have no moral, his performances barely any structure. There's little variety or nuance to his art, and his babbling, nincompoop characters are often psychos. In many ways, all his performances are one performance, and this ur-performance can feel limited, hammy, and vicious. Still, McCarthy's art has a lot to give. Although his expressionism feels dated in these cleaner, more cosmopolitan times, he's proof there's a dark side to modernism. A sort of amalgamated reincarnation of Egon Schiele, George Grosz, Ed Kienholz, and Pier Paolo Pasolini, he's a corrective to art history's fondness for—in Celine's acerbic words—"shitless epics." McCarthy's art is nothing if not full of shit."
by Jerry Saltz

Q. Back in the day a ton of interesting artists were doing performances. Now that energy seems to be directed toward video and film. Artists acting up for the camera. Where has performance gone? Why aren't people working with the live, high-risk moment? Why do the majority of artists insist on being mediated? Why the distance and safety, why behave on a big installation screen, or a monitor on the floor or a pedestal? I know it's hard on a performer (physically draining) but that used to be the appeal, the rush, which is why all actors want to perform in plays, the venue of the real. It's odd to see a whole form almost disappear. There used to be performance magazines and regular venues at museums and galleries for performance. Not too long ago theater and performance were blurring; it was a fertile time.

A. When I perform for the camera there are others standing on the sidelines in the void. It's very Hollywood to stand and watch a movie being made. I am planning a performance in a theater in Berlin this year at Christmastime. I don't know yet whether it will be on the stage or not. I think I would like to use the entire theater as a performance room, the theater as a set. Maybe I will extend the stage out into the audience, reduce the seating. I am interested in blurring our positions. I've always been interested in the audience being a prop.

Paul McCarthy, Piccadilly Circus, 2003. Performance, foto, videoprojektioner, (En tilsølet dronningemoder, der slås), Foto: Jan Madsen

Paul McCarthy
Piccadilly Circus, 2003. Performance, foto, videoprojektioner
(En tilsølet dronningemoder, der slås)
Foto: Jan Madsen

William Pope.L

William Pope L. is best known for his street performances – most notably a continuing project in which he crawls on his hands and knees down a city street dressed in a business suit or a Superman costume. The self-proclaimed ‘Friendliest Black Artist in America’ repeatedly stages his own clownish degradation in his work – eating the Wall Street Journal while perched on a toilet-throne, portraying a drunken Santa Claus or creating grotesque, scatological spectacles involving mayonnaise, hot dogs and peanut butter. Both literally and politically messy, Pope L.’s absurdist enactments of abjection are designed to force confrontation.

10/15 and 10/22 Change of Schedule

Hello All,

Next week we are going to postpone Assignment 3 (Instruction, Relic, Performative Document) and hold a makeup critique for all work that has currently not been reviewed (some need to show the redo of Assignment 1 and others still need to show Assignment 2) . Those of you that did not have work prepared for yesterday's crit will be limited to receiving a high grade of "C" for the Assignment 2 : The Body and The Question. This is a gift.

I need to know who exactly needs to show next week so please email with the subject heading OCTOBER 15 CATCH UP CRIT and let me know what you need to show and if you have any special requests. If you do not email me this friday 10/12 by noon, you will not be reviewed.

There will be another quiz next week. Please be prepared to give a detailed explanation of the difference between Performance and Performative as well as being able to compare and contrast artist works as an example of your understanding of these concepts. I have discussed these concepts many times in class and information and definitions are to be found on the blog, so please do not expect me to help you formulate the answer to this question.

After this make up crit and quiz, Gabe, Nia and I will be meeting all students to discuss their Assignment 3 progression and plans (please bring materials to review). Overall, I have been extremely disappointed by the creativity behind most of the projects, the lack of preparedness for class, and an air of complacency or apathy. From the looks of the student grade sheets from last critique, I am not alone in thinking that work is subpar. I expect better as I am sure many of you do. To those few of you that have stepped it up and challenged yourself and the class-- Thank you. To the rest, if you cannot bring your very best to the class you may be asked to no longer attend.

Midterm grades will be determined after class the 15th. These grades will be determined based on the following criteria:

Assignments: 40%
Final Assignment: 25%
Quizzes: 25%
Participation: 10%

There is a strong possibility that some students will earn a grade of a "D" or "F".

Assignment 3 critique will now take place on 10/22. You will have had 3 weeks to work on this assignment. Read the assignment carefully and come to this class excited to present. I wish all of you success in this class and my door is always open to help with projects.