"Cultural Gothic" by Paul McCarthy, 1992-3 (Rubell collection)
Metal, wood, pneumatic cylinder, compressor, programmed controller, burlap with foam, acrylic & dirt, fiberglass, clothing, wigs
94 3/4 x 96 x 96 in.
The Paul McCarthy exhibition at L.A. MOCA at The Geffen Contemporary documents three decades of the artist's important works. The media he employs, either separately or in combination, are sculpture, drawing, photography, performance, video, and installation. In many of the works the artist acts as the subject of the performance pieces that are documented by photography or video.
Upon entering the exhibition a sign warns: "Viewer discretion advised. Some material in this exhibition may not be suitable for young viewers." Though the first sweeping impression of the museum and the exhibit seems innocent enough; large scale puppet figures abound, large dollhouse-like sets, scattered monitors projecting cartoon-like characters prancing around, and right in front, a life-sized sculpture group, Cultural Gothic
(1992), of dressed suburban father and son, and a goat.
But after taking a closer look at Cultural Gothic
, the innocent element dissipates along with your psychological bearings and comfortable viewing space. The Gap-clad boy is motorized and he is humping the goat. The cycle is simple. The boy and the goat look back to the father for approval, the father nods with his hands resting good-naturedly on the boy's shoulders, the boy begins gyrating, then the father nods his concluding approval.
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