Paul McCarthy

In the works of Los Angeles-based artist Paul McCarthy, conventionally innocent figures are made perverse, performing taboo sex acts, making McCarthy one of the most difficult-to-stomach yet commercially and critically successful artists of recent decades. Drawing inspiration from the radically confrontational Viennese Actionists and the Happenings of Allan Kaprow and others, McCarthy quickly strayed away from his initial interest in painting and in the 1970s began composing performances with the goal of physically disrupting the sense of material comfort, general apathy, and violent cultural dissolution that he viewed as the results of the United States’ consumerist, entertainment-driven mass media and popular culture. Though serious in intent and critique, McCarthy’s performances, and sculptures alike have an important element of comedy, though twisted and profane, that aids in highlighting the absurdity of contemporary circumstances.

McCarthy's work has been exhibited extensively, including solo shows at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City, the New Museum in New York, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, the Museum of Modern Art. His work has also been featured at numerous incarnations of the Whitney Biennial and the Venice Biennale. 



Paul McCarthy 'I suspect they're disturbed when ketchup is blood'
What Whitney Hubbs Thinks About in the Studio
8 of the Most Shocking Artworks Throughout History
Why is Paul McCarthy Building an Eclipse-Viewing Observatory?
The Artist as Critic: Mike Kelley on How He Shaped His Own Legacy
Why To Buy These Paul McCarthy Skateboards
Monica Bonvicini on Shaping Power and Identity
Why Sculptor Aaron Curry is Returning to Painting
9 of Paul McCarthy's Most Disturbing Works
Paul McCarthy's Messy, Lonely Start as an Artist
The Last Rodeo? The Best of Paramount Ranch 2016
7 Video Art Masterpieces You Need to Know Now
How to Build Communities With Kids on Skateboards
Can Artists on Skateboards Change the World?
6 of the Most Important Artist-Run Magazines
Artists to Watch at NADA Miami Beach 2015
Massimiliano Gioni on Uncanny Sculpture
A Rambling View of Berlin Art Week 2015
How Standup Comedy Became the New Performance Art
Alain Servais on Art-Market Insider Trading
Screenwriter Chiswell Langhorne's Art Library
Alain Servais on the Venice Biennale as Art Fair
Alt History: 8 Groundbreaking Works From the '90s
David Kordansky on the Rebirth of LA's Art Scene
Paramount Ranch’s Liz Craft on L.A.'s Coolest Fair
10 of the Best Artworks at FIAC 2014
6 Artworks to Invest in This May
10 Artworks to Make You Laugh Uncomfortably
Hollywood Scion Josh Roth on Collecting L.A. Art
6 Artworks to Invest in This February
Stefania Bortolami on Spotting & Nurturing Talent
The Year Ahead: Expert Art Predictions for 2014
The 2013 Artspace Special-Achievement Awards
6 Artworks to Invest in This December


a treasure trove of fine art from the world's most renowned artists, galleries, museums and cultural institutions. We offer exclusive works you can't find anywhere else.


through exclusive content featuring art news, collecting guides, and interviews with artists, dealers, collectors, curators and influencers.


authentic artworks from across the globe. Collecting with us means you're helping to sustain creative culture and supporting organizations that are making the world a better place.


with our art advisors for buying advice or to help you find the art that's perfect for you. We have the resources to find works that suit your needs.


Artspace offers you authentic, exclusive works from world-renowned artists, galleries, museums and cultural institutions. Collecting with us helps support creative culture while bringing you art news, interviews and access to global art resources.