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  #1  
Old 09-24-2007, 11:45 PM
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Cultural Gothic- Paul McCarthy

"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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Search of youtube and google has not revealed any video clips.


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Photo used with creative commons license and is owned by
"redandgray"
http://flickr.com/photos/gpparker/321541568/in/set-72157594418753000/
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  #2  
Old 09-25-2007, 06:15 AM
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Re: Cultural Gothic- Paul McCarthy

The LA MOCA may consider this art. I would consider it something else.
I see little difference between beastiality and pedophilia. In either case, it involves the rape of innocent life, and a supreme abuse of trust. Why then is this considered something worthy of display at an art museum, rather than something to be ashamed of?
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Old 09-25-2007, 07:13 AM
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Re: Cultural Gothic- Paul McCarthy

The people no longer seek consolation in art. But the refined people, the rich, the idlers seek the new, the extraordinary, the extravagant, the scandalous. (Pablo Picasso)

It is only possible to speak in the language and in the spirit of one's time. (Eugene Delacroix)

Art is an accurate statement of the time in which it was made. (Robert Mapplethorpe)
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Old 09-25-2007, 07:28 AM
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Re: Cultural Gothic- Paul McCarthy

Quote:
Originally Posted by jOe~
The people no longer seek consolation in art. But the refined people, the rich, the idlers seek the new, the extraordinary, the extravagant, the scandalous. (Pablo Picasso)

It is only possible to speak in the language and in the spirit of one's time. (Eugene Delacroix)

Art is an accurate statement of the time in which it was made. (Robert Mapplethorpe)
God help us!

( Ooops. Not to be exculsionary, Landseer; goat help us? )
  #5  
Old 09-25-2007, 07:31 AM
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Re: Cultural Gothic- Paul McCarthy

Quote:
God help us!
Why isn't she?
  #6  
Old 09-25-2007, 07:32 AM
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Re: Cultural Gothic- Paul McCarthy

I think that that Mccarthy sculpture was plenty odd enough without the motorized bestiality aspect. He should have restrained himself. His desire to taboo the message simply overtook the art. Ruined a fair amount of intelligent and unique handiwork - too often artists who are supposedly participating at very high levels prove themselve quite immature.

And I'm not making a sweeping statement about this mans career - simply commenting on this one piece. I am not inspired this early in the morning to google-cram more of his work into my brain...perhaps later.
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Old 09-25-2007, 07:37 AM
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Re: Cultural Gothic- Paul McCarthy

Quote:
He should have restrained himself
But what about LA MOCA ? Equal blame, or?
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Old 09-25-2007, 09:01 AM
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Re: Cultural Gothic- Paul McCarthy

Quote:
Originally Posted by jOe~
But what about LA MOCA ? Equal blame, or?
Equal and more so. The "artist" has free will and can be as much of an idiot as he wants to be. But the LA MOCA probably pretends to be an arbiter of cultural taste for the city. They are not obligated to be enablers for depravity. That they chose to be is telling. Being responsible and mature human beings is apparently not a high priority on their agenda.
  #9  
Old 09-25-2007, 09:11 AM
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Re: Cultural Gothic- Paul McCarthy

It would be really interesting to observe the personalities and the process in the decision making. That would be more telling than the exhibit.
  #10  
Old 09-25-2007, 12:49 PM
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Re: Cultural Gothic- Paul McCarthy

Quote:
I think that that Mccarthy sculpture was plenty odd enough without the motorized bestiality aspect.
I'm not a fan of motorized moving sculptures, they resemble moving maniquins in a store window display, however, since the figures are clothed and other photos don't show anything real obvious. Without the description and reviews I read, or the mechanical motion it would appear to be little more than a couple of people standing behind a goat, then they may as well be Macy's store window props for clothing, costumes or Halloween.

The whole display could have been done without the mechanicals and gotten the same idea across by dropping the boy's pants or having his hands on either side of the goat's rump. The goat is not showing any resistance or distress but simple stands there.

The father's facial expression is either poorly done or was designed to look somewhat tragic, like someone who just witnessed a minor car crash.

Quote:
The LA MOCA may consider this art. I would consider it something else.
I see little difference between beastiality and pedophilia. In either case, it involves the rape of innocent life, and a supreme abuse of trust. Why then is this considered something worthy of display at an art museum, rather than something to be ashamed of?
Bestiality or rather; 'zoophilia' is not anything like pedophilia, the two are totally different, and futhermore bestiality is not always 'rape' nor 'abuse' any more than all heterosexual contact is.
see the very lengthy article on 'zoophilia' with references at wikipedia.org for more from both sides of the issue.

Given the fact that livestock -especially- is treated like lumber by the meat industry- abused from birth, raised and slaughtered inhumanely and without any consent obtained, bestiality pales by comparison even if rape was involved in some case.

Here's a you tube documentary about the cruelty of Kosher meat (which is supposed to be the most humane) production, with interviews that will offer more than sufficient proof of the real abuse heaped on animals every day for the luxury of bar-b-cue's and ham sandwiches- all originally wrapped in those white sterile packages at the supermarket and devoid of the reality for the consumer.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HXS_Ekd_r80

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While McCarthy's sculpture is contemporary, the subject is hardly new in art and mythology;

Analysis by Supervert of the role of bestiality (sex with animals) in contemporary art, particularly in two mechanized works by Paul McCarthy and Mat Collishaw.

In art bestiality seems less taboo than regular old coitus: Leda and the Swan, Beauty and the Beast, the Rape of Ganymede, Pasiphae, the Minotaur, Centaurs raping women, Satyrs "surprising" nymphs, Zeus disguising himself as a bull to rape Demeter and Europa, as a serpent to seduce Persephone, as an eagle for Aegina, a pigeon for Pythia, a stallion for Dia — these themes may be largely mythological, but they certainly are not confined to Greek vases or Renaissance paintings. Cézanne, for instance, painted a fine version of the Leda story, and Picasso's self-identification with the Minotaur resulted in countless pictures of bulls copulating with women.

In contrast, the works by Collishaw and McCarthy differ from this long tradition in that they do not seize upon mythological pretexts for depicting bestiality: they no longer clothe animal sex in myths, but rather cloak machines in animal sex. If McCarthy's sculpture suggests that the pleasures of bestiality will be lost unless transmitted from father to son, it is only because in the future sex may well be highly mechanical.

Full review/article

I'm not sure McCarthy's other works are any more controverisal than any of the other controversial works, including the jar of urine, some of Jeff Koon's works, or the marble Pan-Goat from Pompei, or in fact any of the recovered sexual art pieces from Pompei.
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