Provocateur Paul McCarthy: A Group of Works

September 9, 2014

LAMA is pleased to offer a selection of Paul McCarthy works in the upcoming October 12, 2014 Modern Art & Design Auction. The selection includes a large-scale photograph from McCarthy’s landmark Tokyo Santa performance, a group of four black and white polaroids, and a work on paper from Rosamund Felsen Gallery.

Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA)

Untitled (Photo Book) (1992), Paul McCarthy, Modern Art and Design Auction, October 12, 2014

Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA)

Leisure (1988), Paul McCarthy, Modern Art and Design Auction, October 12, 2014

Artist Paul McCarthy (b. 1945) takes the philosophies and characters that Americans hold most dear and lampoons them in sculpture, performance, and video works. Combining opposing values of the erotic and vulgar with innocence, nostalgia, and charm, McCarthy upends cultural codes and questions what he sees as being arbitrary assignations of value and morality. In a series of performances and mixed-media installations staged in Tokyo, Zürich, and Santa Monica in the late 1990s, McCarthy targeted the cherubic Santa Claus of holiday folklore. McCarthy plays the role of a frightening, bumbling Santa Claus in his performance Tokyo Santa (1999). In Untitled (Tokyo Santa #2), a still taken from the performance, he wears a gruesome rubber mask and is seemingly bloodied. Instead of a fur-trimmed velvet suit, McCarthy’s Santa is stripped down to his long underwear. Santa crouches down boorishly, as brown liquid shoots out seemingly from his groin. In McCarthy’s body of work, the recurrent reference to bodily excretions and genitals serves to shock and humiliate, as well as to break down a false sense of decorum and subjective standards. For example, McCarthy frequently uses staples of the wholesome American pantry such as mayonnaise, ketchup, and Hershey’s chocolate syrup to mimic unsavory bodily fluids.

Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA)

Untitled (Tokyo Santa #2) (1999), Paul McCarthy, Modern Art and Design Auction, October 12, 2014

Klein, Jennie. “Paul McCarthy: Rites of Masculinity.” PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art. Vol. 23, No. 2 (May, 2001): 10-17. Web. 22 Aug. 2014.
McCarthy, Paul. Tokyo Santa. Cologne: Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, 2004. Print.

Lot Information:

Lot 237
Paul McCarthy
Untitled (Tokyo Santa #2)
Cibachrome print
#3 of 6
Image/sheet (vis.): 68.5″ x 47″;
Frame: 71.5″ x 50.5″
Literature: Paul McCarthy: Tokyo Santa, Koln: Verlag der Bucchandlung Walther Konig, 2004, np .
Estimate: $8,000-10,000

Lot 238
Paul McCarthy
Untitled (Photo Book)
Four black and white polaroids with felt tip marker bound together with string
One signed and dated “8/15/92 Paul McCarthy” verso
Each: 3.375″ x 4.25″
Estimate: $20,000-30,000

Lot 239
Paul McCarthy
Ink on paper
Retains Rosamund Felsen Gallery label verso
Image/sheet: 27″ x 41″; Frame: 28″ x 42″
Provenance: Rosamund Fel sen Gallery, Santa Monica, California; Private Collection, Los Angeles,
California (acquired directly from the above)
Estimate: $10,000-15,000

For more information, or details on how to bid, please contact a LAMA representative.

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