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Old 09-26-2007, 11:26 AM
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Ries Ries is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Edison Washington
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Re: Cultural Gothic- Paul McCarthy

I would suggest you guys do a bit more research, and see more of McCarthy's work.

Then, some of you would really go off the deep end, and others might get a better idea of what he is trying to do.

Cultural Gothic, the goat piece. is pretty sedate for McCarthy- many of his works do include actual sex acts, naked people, and other much more graphic stuff.

There is no doubt he is doing this on purpose, to incite exactly the kinds of reactions, and thoughts, he is getting here.

He has been described as a "purveyor of difficult truths".

I would argue there is a big difference between actually polluting a river or air, with long term physical and health consequences, and making an artwork that discusses issues we find uncomfortable.

Artwork only affects the brain. If your brain is made uncomfortable, you dont have to look. We have this argument over and over here, with Glenn claiming that a responsible artist would not make work like this.
I disagree- I think it is important, and necessary, for artists to discuss uncomfortable subjects. The artist is not advocating sex with goats, he is using the subject SYMBOLICALLY to talk about our society and culture.

A non symbolic depiction would be more like the recent film "ZOO", which is a telling of the story of the Enumclaw Washington man who died after sex with a horse- sex in which the horse was the dominant partner. This was a real story, told relatively flatly, without symbolism, about real people and their real acts. The banality of actual human behavior is much more horrifying than anything McCarthy can come up with.

When McCarthy does a sculpture of a man having sex with a tree, as in his piece "The Garden" he is not advocating sex with trees, nor is he somehow encouraging our children to go out and rape shrubbery. It is SYMBOLIC. Yep, just like thousands of other artists through out history, like Goya or Bosch, Francis Bacon or countless others, who depict violent, sexual or other situations in their work.

I gotta agree with Landseer on one point though- why is SEX so horrible, but death and dismemberment, and then eating the animal, not?

Assuming that an actual goat/boy sex act occured, which obviously is not what this piece is about- Wouldnt the goat still be a lot better off than if he was goat stew?

Artists can choose many roles in society.
One role, which certainly we are all free to avoid, is to ask uncomfortable questions.
Asking such questions is a far cry from actually having sex with animials, which I will go on record as being opposed to.
Been There.
Got in Trouble for that.