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Hauser & Wirth Announces Exclusive Paul McCarthy Spring Exhibit


Hauser & Wirth announced today it will devote its entire spring program in New York City to Paul McCarthy, one of America's most challenging and influential artists, via three interrelated exhibitions and an outdoor sculpture presentation. McCarthy has garnered international acclaim for - and provoked lively critical debate with - a constantly evolving oeuvre characterized by wildly dark humor, Bacchanalian chaos, and tragicomic narratives that connect seemingly disparate bodies of work. His practice is notable for its breadth of forms and emphasis upon performance as a tool for breaching established boundaries between genres; using repetition and variation, he has mined his preoccupying themes across mediums and decades. McCarthy unleashes debauchery and desire with extreme technical daring, charting a territory where our fundamental impulses collide with our most cherished myths and hypocritical societal norms. His work locates the traumas lurking behind the gleaming stage set of the American Dream and identifies their analogs in accepted art history.

The latest fruits of McCarthy's explorations will be presented by Hauser & Wirth in New York City with three ambitious shows: Paul McCarthy: Life Cast and Paul McCarthy: Sculptures will open to the public on May 10th at the gallery's East 69th and West 18th Street locations, respectively. In June, Paul McCarthy and Damon McCarthy: Rebel Dabble Babble, a vast, provocative video projection and installation work, will open at 18th Street. The exhibitions are described by the artist as components of a single ongoing work in process: "They are parts of one enormous puzzle, very much the way members of a family are individuals but at the same time connected as participants in another whole entity."

The Hauser & Wirth exhibitions will be complemented by outdoor public presentations of two major McCarthy sculptures: The massive bronze composition 'Sisters' (2013) will stand outdoors in Hudson River Park in West Chelsea through 26 July, on a site at 17th Street between Pier 57 and the Sports Center at Chelsea Piers. And the 80 foot tall inflatable sculpture 'Balloon Dog' (2013) will be shown on Randall's Island during the Frieze New York art fair.

All the McCarthy works on view in Manhattan this spring relate directly to and provide context for the much-anticipated presentation of the artist's major work in progress, WS, a sprawling installation and video projection project that will go on view at the Park Avenue Armory beginning 19 June. WS will fill the Armory's vast Drill Hall with a soaring, eye-popping magical forest sculpture and video performance projections. This ambitious ongoing project uses as its springboard the story of fairytale princess Snow White and those who have commoditized her as vehicles for exploring the Oedipal complexities of family, the paths of art making, the institutionalization of history, and pop culture consumption. WS will remain on view through 4 August.

Paul McCarthy: Life Cast
Opening to the public on 10 May at Hauser & Wirth's townhouse on 69th Street, Paul McCarthy: Life Cast (on view through 26 July) showcases highly developed themes and narratives coursing through and connecting different areas of McCarthy's vast and complex practice. Here those themes are revealed through platinum silicone life casts -- bravura replicas of the artist and Elyse Poppers, one of the key performers his most recent projects Rebel Dabble Babble and WS. The exhibition unfolds around a seminal sculpture titled 'Horizontal' (2013), a haunting depiction of the artist in uncanny full-scale replica, naked and prone in the gallery's skylit ground floor south room. 'Horizontal' is a recent "repetition-variation" of the 2005 work 'Paul Dreaming, Vertical, Horizontal', in which the artist's own body was molded standing upright. Defined by gravity's pull, that earlier sculpture was subtly distorted, its belly and penis distended outward. While 'Paul Dreaming' elicits thoughts of death, it also suggests that the artist is very much alive and a bit of a bearded buffoon in socks and shirt, but no pants. 'Horizontal' presents an altogether different avatar and, in the artist's words, "makes no bones about the fact this is someone dead, without the mask of a clown or the possibility of sleep and dreaming." The sculpture was presaged by one of McCarthy's earliest exhibited works, the hollow metal 'Dead H' (1968), also on view in Paul McCarthy: Life Cast. 'Dead H' - at first glance a Minimalist sculpture in the then-prevailing style - slyly mimics a dead body, a fallen hero. Forty-five years later, the artist's study of the body as a vehicle for liberation and exploitation continues full force. Works on view at 69th Street include 'Rubber Jacket Horizontal, Rubber H,' a poignant fragment from the life casting activities of the past year that captures a sunken and hollow portion of the artist's own torso; McCarthy's 'T.G.' ('That Girl') sculptures, close variations that suggest the building blocks of film; and a video installation work that both captures the process by which these objects were created and places viewers within that process.

Paul McCarthy: Sculptures
Beginning on 10 May, Hauser & Wirth 18th Street will open Paul McCarthy: Sculptures (on view through 1 June). In the gallery's new 25,000 square foot venue, visitors will discover massive black walnut wood sculptures depicting McCarthy's versions of characters drawn from the famous 19th century German folk tale Schneewittchen (Snow White) and his caricatures of modern interpretations of the story, including those in Disney's beloved 1937 animated classic film 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.' To create these works, McCarthy developed, abandoned, reworked and "fucked up" figures based upon Snow White-themed memorabilia and kitsch figurines. The resulting sculptures engage in willful distortion that suggests equally offbeat and charged psychic structures. In addition to conventional hand sculpting in clay, the artist employs computer mapping to digitally flesh out and manipulate shapes and details. By combining traditional techniques and cutting-edge technologies, McCarthy gradually duplicates elements and changes scale, combining reconstituted forms to "abstract through merging." Appropriating images and narratives from the culture industry, McCarthy draws from Hollywood's tactics for re-structuring reality. Like Walt Disney, he assumes the role of artist as producer, a role he also performs in WS. With the latest White Snow works, McCarthy alludes to Disney's contribution to the Golden Age of Animation and raises questions about how an artist's work rearranges and deranges definitions of art, culture, and thought.

Paul McCarthy and Damon McCarthy: Rebel Dabble Babble
On 20 June, Hauser & Wirth's 18th street space will re-open with the third of the gallery's spring 2013 exhibitions: Rebel Dabble Babble is a collaboration between Paul McCarthy and his son Damon McCarthy. On view through 26 July, Rebel Dabble Babble is a complex installation and video projection work originally inspired by both Nicholas Ray's 1955 classic Hollywood film 'Rebel Without a Cause' and the furious rumors that swirled around the off-set relationships between its director and his stars James Dean, Natalie Wood, and Sal Mineo. This densely layered opus confronts definitions of power and role-playing, and expands far beyond the '50s movie and related legends. Ultimately, Rebel Dabble Babble is a meditation upon the archetypes and Oedipal tensions that define family dynamics as they have been played out in private homes, in the evolution of art history, and in the role of the entertainment industry in shaping our expectations and self-images. Rebel Dabble Babble reflects an important shift in Paul McCarthy's engagement with the fantastical tropes of such bodies of work as White Snow, Pirates and Pinocchio, toward more modern and thoroughly American 20th century pop culture mythologies. As with the two sculpture exhibitions presented by Hauser & Wirth New York this spring, this ambitious and challenging tour de force delves deeper into the structures by which fiction successfully presents itself as reality.

Both locations of Hauser & Wirth New York are open to visitors Tuesday through Saturday, 10 am until 6 pm. The general public can find additional information about the gallery, its exhibitions and programs online at:

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