Paul McCarthy

Paul McCarthy

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Paul McCarthy

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Paul McCarthy (born August 4, 1945), is a contemporary artist who lives and works in Los Angeles, California.


thumb|Two museum visitors running out of the Hessel Museum with McCarthy costumes still on.McCarthy was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, and studied art at the University of Utah in 1969. He went on to study at the San Francisco Art Institute receiving a BFA in painting. In 1972 he studied film, video, and art at the University of Southern California receiving an MFA. From 1982 to 2002 he has taught performance, video, installation, and performance art history at the University of California, Los Angeles. McCarthy currently works mainly in video and sculpture.

Originally formally trained as a painter, McCarthy's main interest lies in everyday activities and the mess created by them. Much of his work in the late 1960s, such as Mountain Bowling (1969) and Hold an Apple in Your Armpit (1970) are similar to the work of Happenings founder Allan Kaprow, with whom McCarthy had a professional relationship.


Paul McCarthy misleadingly is often considered to be influenced by the Viennese Actionism. Although by his own statement the happenings of the group were known to him in the 1970s, he sees a clear difference between the self-injurious actions of the Viennese and his own performances: "Vienna is not Los Angeles. My work came out of kids' television in Los Angeles. I...
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