Paul McCarthy "Mixed Bag" | Xavier Hufkens

by Christopher Andrew Armstrong

It’s not far-reaching to say that Paul McCarthy is one of the country’s greatest living artists. Inspired by sex, politics, gross consumerism, and pop culture, his pieces are often seen as obscene, disturbing, provocative, and, at times, highly controversial. A 2008 installation, ambitiously titled Complex Shit, in Bern, Switzerland featured a massive, brown, inflatable piece which was designed in the fashion of, you guessed it, feces. After a treacherous wind storm swept up the installation and sent it flying through the air, a mishap which resulted in the destruction of a power line and several broken windows, the media ran wild with the story the following day, conjuring up headlines like “Giant Inflatable Turd Terrorizes Swiss Town,” “Giant Dog Turd Wreaks Havoc at Swiss Museum,” and a remembrance piece labeled “A Year Later, Swiss Town Rebuilds from Giant Dog Poo Attack.” The mess only added to the artist’s mounting legacy.

And now Paul McCarthy has received a major solo show at Xavier Hufkens, an essential European art gallery located in Brussels. The show, titled Mixed Bag, spans across the gallery’s two locations and features works compiled from three of his most essential video performance installations, including CP (Caribbean Pirates), WS (White Snow), and CSSC (Coach Stage Stage Coach) / DADDA (Donald and Daisy Duck Adventure). The selection oversees various mediums he has explored including performance, photography, film, multimedia installations, sculptures, and drawings.

Other works on display include Oval Office (2015-2019), which examines the Wild West and the role it played in shaping America’s identity, and Angel (2018), a three-dimensional sculpture which faithfully recreates a Trump family portrait featuring the heir ,Melania, and Barron straddling a toy lion. Mixed Bag is on view at Xavier Hufkens from April 25 to May 25.

Paul McCarthy “Mixed Bag” at Xavier Hufkens from 25 April - 25 May 2019

6 & 107 rue St-Georges | St-Jorisstraat, 1050 Brussels