Whitman College Art Department

Paul McCarthy to give a lecture at Whitman College


 Paul McCarthy to give a lecture at Whitman College next week on Tuesday, February 16th at 7pm in Olin 130.

Biography from PBS’s Art 21:

Paul McCarthy was born in 1945 in Salt Lake City. He studied at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City (1968–69); earned a BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute (1969) and an MFA from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles (1972); and was a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles (1984–2003). Paul McCarthy’s video-taped performances and provocative multimedia installations lampoon polite society, ridicule authority, and bombard the viewer with a sensory overload. 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. 


Paul McCarthy’s work has been shown in major exhibitions at California College of the Arts, Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco (2009); Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2008); Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst, Ghent (2007); Moderna Museet, Stockholm (2006); and Haus der Kunst, Munich (2005); among others. He has participated in many international events, including the Berlin Biennial (2006); SITE Santa Fe (2004); Whitney Biennial (1995, 1997, 2004); and the Venice Biennale (1993, 1999, 2001). Paul McCarthy lives and works in Altadena, California.


Most recently McCarthy has turned his transgressive reputation to more socially collaborative ends, partnering with arts organization The Skateroom. Based out of Brussels, The Skateroom initiative encourages artists to enrich skate art history by producing bold, exciting works that lend their profits to empowerment organizations. All proceeds from this project go to the international NGO Skateistan, with a view in mind to fund the first skate school on the African continent in central Johannesburg. 


The Skateistan project is what McCarthy will be working on while here at the Walla Walla Foundry. In addition to his skateboards he is also creating larger sculptures that will populate skate parks. It is this newest “Skateistan” series that would be largely featured in the artist’s lecture.