Saturday, July 13, 2013

Paul and Damon McCarthy: Assholes, Blowjobs, Incest

 Well, I just had to do it.  I've known about Paul McCarthy's work for some time but never made it to any of this shows.  I pretty much hatted his work before I stepped into Hauser and Wirth, and I still more or less hate it after I've seen his nasty art in person.  But as always when you experience something first hand you take away with you more than if you just read about it in a magazine or saw a clip of it on-line.  I have to admit that McCarthy has won my respect as an artist even though this exhibition made me want to puke.  

In a nutshell his show will leave you with a taste in your mouth probably not dissimilar to anal discharge.  If you want to spend your afternoon feeling as if you just licked a McDonald's toilet bowl in Tijuana after two gay men rammed each other up the ass then you'll love Paul and Damon McCarthy's "Rebel Dabble Babble" at Hauser and Wirth.  It's a multimedia spectacle of incest... Complete with brother/sister blowjobs, intercourse, bitch slapping, incessant cursing, old man asshole, husband/daughter humping, and repulsive gooey yellow fluids.  For how completely disgusting this show is, dare i say it is done with artistry and thoughtfulness.  

Below is a video of Paul and Damon McCarthy speaking about their work on this project, and here is a link to an Art21 video on Paul's work

According to the Hauser and Wirth website...
‘Rebel Dabble Babble’ is a large and 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. 

(Read more of the press release at

Paul McCarthy might be commenting on the "quasi-incestuous affairs between Ray and his actors" in the entertainment industry and "the archetypes and Oedipal tensions that define family dynamics" and that's fine and well that he does... but you have to question why Damon McCarthy and Paul McCarthy (who plays both Nick Ray and the father of Jim Stark in "Rebel Without a Cause") seem to so authentically enjoy this carnival of debauchery.  And that's precisely why his work is so controversial and powerful... because Mr. McCarthy is one hell of a creepy guy, so much so that to even go to one of his exhibitions you feel as though you're participating in an act of abomination. 

And lastly, I dedicate this post to the poor gallerinas that have to sit at the front deskat Hauser and Wirth and hear the "hullabaloo of clanging and clamor, yelling and coital grunting" day in and day out.  My heart goes out to you!

***FYI all images were found on-line

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