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Shock therapy opens a new London gallery.
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If a group of 3-year-olds cavorted about on the floor in a seemingly out of control frenzy, showing their pants, smearing each other with cakes and squirting each other with brown sauce and other foodstuffs, they’d probably get a severe talking to and be sent to their rooms. But when fiftysomething American artist Paul McCarthy does it, it’s his art.
Inaugurating Hauser & Wirth’s new gallery space in a former bank on London’s Piccadilly, McCarthy’s new show includes projected footage of him and his associates engaging in all and more extreme versions of the above, surrounded by props and debris of where the performance took place in the space.
With the performers dressed in foam rubber masks, recognisable as George W Bush, Osama Bin Laden and the Queen Mother, it’s difficult to tell whether the work is partly political or merely a public form of cathartic therapy. Either way, this is definitely not one for the squeamish. Helen Sumpter 17 October 03
Paul McCarthy is at Hauser & Wirth, 196a Piccadilly, London, until 20 December 03.
useful link: hauserwirth: london shows
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