Paul McCarthy  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Paul McCarthy (born in August 4, 1945 in Salt Lake City, Utah) is a contemporary artist who lives and works in Los Angeles, California.

He studied art at the University of Utah in 1969. He went on the study at the San Francisco Art Institute getting his B.F.A. in painting. Then in 1972 he studied film, video, and art at the University of Southern California getting his M.F.A.

From 1982 until the present he has taught performance, video, installation, and performance art history at the University of California, Los Angeles.

McCarthy began his art career with performances that employed gravity as a literal and metaphorical vehicle. By 1974 his work became far more aggressive and sexually provocative. His performances have been described as brutally self-assaultive.

Although his interest in film and video goes back to the '60s, many of his early performances that were not recorded. The action was often spontaneous. After the late '80s he started to make recorded performances. These videotapes were a method of capturing a permanent visual record of a set, a location and a staged performance. His fims and installations function as a kind of alternative Hollywood.

McCarthy's work often involves what looks like fecal matter, blood and mucus. He believes we're taught to be disgusted by our bodily fluids. He sees our disgust as related to a fear of death. His use of body fluids is contrasted with the antiseptic fixation on hygiene that he ascribes to Walt Disney whom he sees as the ultra-right-wing creator of Disneyland.

His work is an important influence on younger artists such as Ron Athey, Franko B, Lennie Lee and Kira O' Reilly

McCarthy currently works mainly in video and sculpture.

Paul McCarthy has been known to work with artists, noticeably with Mike Kelley, Jason Rhoades and Extended Organ (of which he is a member).

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Paul McCarthy" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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