With an assembly of red bronzes, Paul McCarthy imparts a lewd lesson on the duality of an object.
From early performances to pop-up Parisian confectioners and 80-foot inflatables, sex toys and Santa Claus have a storied past in the work of seminal American artist Paul McCarthy. Short of a signature, the two belong to a perverse lexicon of icons and archetypes which McCarthy has revisited, re-invented and combined at will over the course of his five decade career. In this case, questioning the commodification of Christmas and the associations of a derided object which – in another context – might be considered a masterstroke of minimalism.
Santa with Butt Plug Bronze 11.4 inches revisits a 2001 public sculpture commissioned by the city of Rotterdam. A foam replica, created during the casting process and subsequently left to rot for five years outside McCarthy’s studio, provides the form for a new and smaller incarnation. Cracks, fissures and imperfections are preserved as testament to the artwork’s ongoing history. A sanguine finish completes the edition – heightening the fidelity of its surface and fulfilling McCarthy’s vision for his original, large-scale Santa.
For the full picture, read an accompanying journal – Butt plugs, Santa Claus & Paul McCarthy.
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