In celebration of the forthcoming fifth season of Art:21—Art in the Twenty-First Century, broadcasting this October on PBS, each week we bring you a video clip from a featured artist’s segment. Up next is artist Paul McCarthy. Read a detailed explanation of McCarthy work back on Art21’s blog here, and make sure to read Read Benjamin Weissman’s BOMB interview with him here.
Paul McCarthy’s video-taped performances and provocative multimedia installations lampoon polite society, ridicule authority, and bombard us with a sensory overload of ‘homemade,’ albeit unsettling, imagery. “In the early tapes you see my face and it’s clear who I am. It’s me, Paul McCarthy, making an artwork. In these other tapes the persona happens—and it usually starts with covering the face and head,” he explains.
This video is excerpted from the Season 5 episode Transformation, premiering on Wednesday, October 21, 2009 at 10pm (ET) on PBS (check local listings). Transformation features three artists—McCarthy, Cindy Sherman, and Yinka Shonibare MBE—who populate their work with costumes and masks, makeup and style, dolls & mannequins, stage and cinema. Whether observing and satirizing society or reinventing icons of literature, art history, and popular culture, these artists inhabit the characters they create and capture the sensibilities of our age.