Published August 14, 2020
At a glance, these massive wooden sculptures of Paul McCarthy approach what many would consider good taste, even elegance. They seem far from the gut-wrenching and depraved visions McCarthy orchestrates. But upon inspection, frozen deformed faces, unnatural fusing of bodies, and scandalous acts involving fairy tale figures become clearer. Called White Snow (WS) Spinoffs, these sculptures are a stage in the evolution of a disturbing reinterpretation of the story of Snow White, first presented as a multimedia experience in 2013.
Let's just say that McCarthy is capable of much worse. And that wouldn't be an insult. Of Paul McCarthy's oeuvre, noted art critic, Robert Storr, has said that whole point is to get the viewer to a "very primal state of imaginative activity" or even a nauseating shock to one's sensibilities. Images we can't show here. Clown porn or horror movies involving food and bodily fluids come to mind.
Why? Because it's an innate part of us, apparently, one that needs a release. What McCarthy's accomplishes "goes entirely along the lines of paths charted long ago in our culture, but blocked in modern times under this kind of idea of good taste. And Paul bravely and insouciantly abolishes good taste."
For McCarthy's viewers, Storr advises to listen to or feel their guts. "They should not go to their heads. They should not immediately try to correlate it with what they know about art or somehow find a way to accomodate it with what they know to be good...they should go directly to where it hits them."