"Art making is a form of alchemy, in a way, because you are trying…to make gold from nothing. When it works very well is when you manage to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary."
From the series, "Exclusive"
Artist Paul McCarthy discusses his interest in art as political theater and his sculptures as akin to amusement park rides. Featuring the works "Bang Bang Room" (1992), "Spinning Room" (2008), and "Mad House" (2008) in the exhibition "Paul McCarthy: Central Symmetrical Rotation Movement, Three Installations, Two Films" (2008) at the Whitney Museum of American Art.
Paul McCarthy's video-taped performances and provocative multimedia installations lampoon polite society, ridicule authority, and bombard the viewer with a sensory overload of often sexually-tinged, violent imagery. With irreverent wit, McCarthy often takes aim at cherished American myths and icons—Walt Disney, the Western, and even the Modern Artist—adding a touch of malice to subjects that have been traditionally revered for their innocence or purity. Whether conflating real-world political figures with fantastical characters such as Santa Claus, or treating erotic and abject content with frivolity and charm, McCarthy's work confuses codes, mixes high and low culture, and provokes an analysis of fundamental beliefs.
Producer: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Interview: Susan Sollins. Camera: Bob Elfstrom & Richard Numeroff. Sound: Doug Dunderdale & Merce Williams. Editor: Joaquin Perez. Artwork Courtesy: Paul McCarthy. Special Thanks: Whitney Museum of American Art. Video: © 2011, Art21, Inc. All rights reserved.