Paul McCarthy Takes Over Both Hauser & Wirth London Galleries
London - DEC 20, 2011
Hauser & Wirth are proud to present "Paul McCarthy The King, The Island, The Dwarves, The Train..." on view at botht eh companiy's London galleries (Savile Row and Piccadilly) through January 14th 2012. This exhibition features major new works and some of the most significant sculptures and installations by Los Angeles based artist Paul McCarthy, including the ambitious 'Pig Island'. Spanning both the Savile Row and Piccadilly galleries, this exhibition showcases the highly developed themes and interrelationships coursing through McCarthy's complex practice. Combining political figures and pop culture, 'Pig Island', on view at Savile Row, is a morally deviant world populated by pirates, cowboys, the likenesses of George W. Bush and Angelina Jolie, an assortment of Disney characters and the artist himself, all carousing in a state of wild and reckless abandon. The island is constructed from blocks of polystyrene piled high with wood, cast body parts, clay, spray paint and old fast food containers surrounded by a sea of blue carpeting. Over a seven year period, 'Pig Island' grew to fill McCarthy's studio, blurring the boundaries between the work and the workplace. It evolved from an accumulation of detritus and half-finished figures into a sculptural installation: every detail of the seemingly chaotic work meticulously positioned as if it were a carefully orchestrated film set, complete with film lighting. Unlike the picture-perfect Disney fairytales McCarthy so often references, ‘Pig Island’ flaunts its unfinished state and mechanisms, enabling the viewer to catch a glimpse of the artist's process, the organic development of his sculptures and the rawness of a neverending work-in-progress. Described by McCarthy as a 'sculpture machine', 'Pig Island' has given birth to numerous large-scale sculptures, including 'Train, Mechanical': a mechanical sculpture showing twin pot-bellied caricatures of George W. Bush sodomising two pigs. Each of the figures performs a choreographed set of actions – their asses move rhythmically back and forth, their mouths open and close, their heads spin and, when approached, their heads and beady eyes follow the viewer around the space. 'The King' presides over the main space of the Piccadilly gallery. This new monumental installation consists of a platform surrounded by large-scale airbrush paintings that were created on the easel that stands on the platform. Atop the platform is a throne upon which a silicone model of McCarthy sits stark naked with partly severed limbs, closed eyes and wearing a long blonde wig. Church pews arranged in front of the stage give the viewer a place to sit and contemplate the artist’s elevated status as they gaze up at his wooden throne. McCarthy has been making mechanical sculptures as an extension of his performance based art since the early nineties. His new mechanical work, 'Mad House Jr.', is an adapted version and, at the same time, a maquette of 'Mad House' (2008), first shown at the Whitney Museum of American Art. 'Mad House Jr.' is a small room-like cube with windows and a doorless entry. Like a miniature amusement park ride, the cube shakes and spins rapidly whilst a small camera installed inside the cube records all of its movements. This footage is then projected into the space, creating an environment of physical and mental disorientation. For over four decades, Paul McCarthy has produced a body of work that bridges a variety of media and pushes the boundaries of contemporary culture – exploring issues of consumerism, pop culture and the underbelly of the American dream. Hauser & Wirth presents the first transatlantic show of McCarthy's work with two different exhibitions on view simultaneously at Hauser & Wirth's New York gallery and both London galleries. Born in 1945 in Salt Lake City, Utah, Paul McCarthy is one of the most important and influential contemporary American artists. McCarthy's numerous solo exhibitions include 'Pig Island', Fondazione Nicola Trussardi, Milan, Italy (2010); 'White Snow', Hauser & Wirth New York NY (2009); 'Paul McCarthy – Air Pressure', an exhibition of inflatable sculptures at De Uithof, City of Utrecht, Netherlands (2009); 'Central Symmetrical Rotation Movement – Three Installations, Two Films', Whitney Museum of American Art, New York NY (2008) and the travelling retrospective, 'Paul McCarthy – Head Shop / Shop Head' which first opened at Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden (2006); and travelled to Aarhus Museum of Art, Aarhus, Denmark (2007) and Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst (2007 – 2008). McCarthy's 'Piccadilly Circus' was the inaugural exhibition at Hauser & Wirth's Piccadilly gallery in 2003. McCarthy currently lives and works in Los Angeles CA. Hauser & Wirth is one of the world's leading contemporary art galleries. In addition to representing over 40 established and emerging artists, the gallery represents the estates of Eva Hesse, Allan Kaprow, Lee Lozano, Jason Rhoades, Dieter Roth and André Thomkins, as well as the Henry Moore Family Collection. Hauser & Wirth Zürich was founded in 1992 by its principals Ursula Hauser, Manuela Wirth and Iwan Wirth. 1998 saw the gallery joining in partnership with Eva Presenhuber, who opened the Galerie Hauser & Wirth & Presenhuber in the same building. In New York, where Hauser & Wirth had collaborated closely with gallerist David Zwirner since 1992, they opened Zwirner & Wirth. In 2003, Hauser & Wirth London opened on Piccadilly in an historic building designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens as a branch of Midland Bank in 1922. In the autumn of 2006, Hauser & Wirth set up offices and a shared gallery space in Old Bond Street, which has hosted several exhibitions annually, including a show of Francis Picabia nudes and a Henry Moore exhibition designed by Zaha Hadid Architects. In September 2009, Hauser & Wirth New York opened at 32 East 69th Street with the well-reviewed show 'Yard (To Harrow)', a seminal Environment first made in 1961 by Allan Kaprow, the profoundly influential American artist known as the inventor of 'Happenings.' In October 2010, Hauser & Wirth London opened their new gallery designed by Selldorf Architects at 23 Savile Row with the critically acclaimed exhibition, 'Louise Bourgeois: The Fabric Works'. The new gallery offers 15,000 square feet (1,400 m2) of exhibition space and an additional 7,000 square feet (650 m2) on the first floor for new offices and an extensive library and archive. Hauser & Wirth co-publishes a number of vital and diverse artists' books and monographs each season, realizing artists' instinctive desires on the printed page and distributing the resulting titles internationally.

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Article: Art Knowledge News

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