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Paul McCarthy


Paul McCarthy, American artist. Recipient Skowhegan Medal for Sculpture, Skowhegan Sch Painting & Sculpture, 2009.


For Paul McCarthy, the body is a primary tool for making art and a primary means for exploring ideas. The artist studied filmmaking at the University of Southern California, a school with close ties to the Hollywood movie industry. Yet he established his own reputation in the art world through his uniquely subversive videos. During the seventies, McCarthy filmed himself covering his body with paint and liquid food products.


Attended, University Utah, 1966—1968. Bachelor of Fine Arts, San Francisco Art Institute, 1969. Master of Fine Arts, University Southern California, 1973.


McCarthy's early career was spent in relative obscurity, but he achieved widespread prominence in the nineties after many younger artists cited him as a major influence on their work. McCarthy began

to exhibit his art more widely, and he received larger and more varied commissions. One of his exhibits, White Snow (2009), was devoted to drawings and collages based on the Disney film Snow White. Some of the show's larger works featured Snow White morphing into a riot of phallic symbols and tawdry clippings from celebrity magazines. These pieces examined the relationship between commodity and cultural dysfunction.