Paul McCarthy was born in 1945 in Salt Lake City, Utah. He received his MFA from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. McCarthy is a contemporary artist working across media in performance, sculpture, and film. Inspired by American popular culture, lewd sexual innuendo, and the work of Joseph Beuys, McCarthy constructs complicated critiques of consumerism and art. His work aims to make his audience feel uncomfortable and often succeeds in stirring controversy, notably in 2014 when his sculpture Tree—a green inflatable that resembled a butt plug—was defaced and then removed within two days of its installation in Paris’ Place Vendôme. McCarthy's work is recognized for his provocative, performances, multi-media installations, and sculptures that irreverently fuse high and low culture in their biting but humorous critique of American mythology and accepted societal norms.
His work is in the collections of the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Tate Gallery in London, and the Smithsonian Museum of American Art in Washington, D.C., among others. McCarthy lives and works in Los Angeles, CA.
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