An Artist Exposing Fascism Through Provocation
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An Artist Exposing Fascism Through Provocation

He attended Weber State College in Utah for nearly a year, where he unexpectedly received avant-garde arts education, especially before transferring to the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, found objects and ready-made meds. Learning about In Weber State, there was a student show in the hallway of the school’s cultural center where it showed an old cash register; Another student showed the car door. It was around this time that he met Karen Player, who would become his closest ally and soon, his wife. (“We both had similar interests: getting hell out of Utah,” he said.) Karen gave him a copy of it Alan KaprowThe 1966 book “Montage, Environments and Happenings,” which would become the standard text on the development of the performing arts. McCarthy was already familiar Gutai GroupA loose collective that emerged later in Japan and came closer to painting as a kind of dramatic event – artists painted with their feet or ran through wooden planks covered in paper. He was, in these years, a nominal painter, but his paintings had some demonstrative aspects: what he called “black painting” by setting the canvas on fire. “The action itself was kind of utilitarian,” he said, “the easiest way to get something black was to burn it. You know, the easiest way for me to paint was a big rip. Why I need a brush was? “

In 1968, he and Karen moved to San Francisco so that McCarthy could complete his bachelor’s degree at the San Francisco Art Institute. The following year he was drafted and refused induction, forcing the couple to wait for him to return to Utah and see if he would be jailed. His case went to the Supreme Court as part of a class-action suit, putting it in legal vexation – he would not be given a dutiful-objectionable position until 1973. During this range, McCarthy enrolled at Southern University of California in Los Angeles, where he was in the multimedia department, “somewhere between art, video and film,” he said. In one of his student work, McCarthy, with the help of a friend, punched a hole in a wall outside a building and called it a film, tearing apart other members of the film school. He never had any intention of staying, or once he came, he wanted to stay there (he and Karen wanted to go back to the Bay Area, or even Salt Lake), but it was the only school that allowed him Gave a stipend “We were always going to leave LA,” he said. “And very soon, you’re there forever.”

It was on his arrival in Los Angeles that McCarthy began to develop his language. The 1970s saw a malaise that led to the collapse of the status quo, a time that recalls our present moment very well: people survived futile wars abroad and struggled to survive; He had lost faith in political leaders who felt that he was not interested in helping those who were elected. The nihilism of the era was reflected in its art, which was more volatile, more struggling, less pleasant than anything that had come before. In 1971, an artist’s name, in front of a small audience in a gallery in Santa Ana, California Chris Burden Staged a performance called “Shoot”, in which a friend of his shot him with a .22 caliber rifle in his left arm because he wanted to know how it felt. In 1975, for a piece called “Interior Scrolls”, Kairoli Schnimannen Naked naked in a gallery in East Hampton, NY, stood on a table, rubbed her face and body in paint and pulled a long piece of parchment from her vagina, of which she read aloud; The lesson discussed her marginalization as a woman in the art world.

But aside from its pace even at a time, the work by McCarthy in the 70s remains a hindrance. In a performance called “Shit Face Painting” in 1974, images of which are still difficult to relate without cringing, he covered his body in excrement – his beard baked with it – and white rubber tar laid on the floor. Was rolled over. . In both “Hot Dog” (1974) and “Tubing”, McCarthy is visually trampled as he tries to consume large amounts of raw meat. In 1974’s “Meat Cake I”, a strangely moving discovery of gender, the artist, dressed in a black careless dress, paints his body with ketchup, mayonnaise, margarine and minced meat, and ultimately everything – Food, spice, carelessness – fills in his white underwear, revealing the man beneath it all, who looks almost like a newborn fetus, his body with various fluids, his underwear slipping like a diaper.



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