WS SC / Paul McCarthy / Hauser & Wirth / Play the game seriously

Paul McCarthy, …, Bataille, Lacan, Foucault, …, blah, blah, blah,… This time what he is doing is showing you that you like it. You have been always looking at this barely dressed models. They are not less naked when is art, they are not more dressed when is a nice advertisement. They are naked as in a porn movie. So close to a gore one. But you think this is not porn, you think you are smarter than this, you think you are over that when you are watching this magazines waiting for a hairdo. A beauty naked body is not always art. Specially when is used to shell goods. Then becomes another commodity.
Do you remember the famous calendar? Is less porn because they are celebrities, iconic models? This kind of calendars are inside “the system of the objects”. Carefully notice that in this exhibition there are not many objects, just flesh. And the few objects you can find are to be looked as flesh. McCarthy doesn’t have enough showing naked bodies, he will push to your limits, after you realize you are reading the narrative as in the cheapest porn magazine, then you noticed you are consuming gore. Bloody gore. It is so clever.

Accept it, and then get some steps back and discover the fabulous colored canvas as the great pieces of art they are. Enjoy the sparkling light coming from them. The beautiful broken colours, long brushstrokes, wide stains, drawing over plain colours -as Raoul Dufy!

Then go back to the narrative. This painting is amazingly linked with the history of art, through Manet to Tiziano and Bronzino. The ripe fruit of Caravaggio is here an slit in the canvas. Straight to your face. The Pietà of Michelangelo is a gender issue. These Saint Sebastian have no other god than desire to be hurt. And you are enjoying watching at them. Is your face now like Saint Teresa? In ecstasy? Remember Bataille.

WS SC it is delightful as the Comte de Lautréamont, “Vous, qui me regardez, éloignez-vous de moi, car mon haleine exhale un souffle empoisonné”. Sade is a child’s play beside that. Pasolini didn’t go so far. And Koons is just been sold as accessory in a fashion franchise. Exactly what is targeting our antihero, the half-tones and the market.

McCarthy doesn’t refuses tradition as Francis Picabia did on “Nature mort”. He refuses consumer society. He performs “Le déjeuner sur l’herbe” and “Olympia” because he is working in the same way as Édouard Manet. He is doing steps ahead from what others did before, he is making explicit in painting what is normal in contemporary life, consuming sex instead of having it, eating junk, turning everything into goods. You can find quite similar photographs in a porn magazine or in art fair, the same Olympias and Sebastians, sometimes greeting you in the corridors. Then as far you are adult and you are not abusing no one, especially no younger and no helpless, do your best.

But what is about all this filthy grand bouffe? You all are consumers and you are eating rubbish all the time. Maybe you like it. He is giving you tons of excrements until you close your mouth and choose better next time. If you want sex, do it, but don’t need to take the sex-bait all the time because then you are responsible of all this sex as seasoning for any product on sell. Buying sex as garnish, makes you the tormentor.

And don’t dare to suggest any comment about gender. It matters. There are a lot of penis cut in this show. A lot of heads cut from famous actors. Snow White (WS) and Mickey Mouse are no more archetypes. Nor Stagecoach (SC). In this Pietà, is she who is dying. Surprisingly, he knows how to convert this difficult to see scenes in beautiful drawings, think in Rodin, Otto Dix! Women and men, or whatever they are, or whatever they want to be, are here in any order, victims or tormentors, victims and tormentors, just for pleasure, at least your pleasure.
What about you? Are you one of these cowboys? Cowgirl? Are you wearing a cap?

Paul McCarthy
Hauser & Wirth
13 September – 1 November 2014