Multimedia artist Paul McCarthy brings fairy tales to Hauser & Wirth‘s New York gallery space in a second installation of the series. Works included in “The Dwarves, The Forests” are based on the drawings that made up the 2009 show “White Snow.” The exhibition series will continue, as Hauser & Wirth’s Andrea Schwan tells Art Observed, with a third installation, in which pieces from “The Dwarves, The Forests” will serve as sets for video art, to be hosted by the gallery sometime in 2013. On view until December 17, “The Dwarves, The Forests” includes pieces cast in bronze and wrapped in gauze, and one, White Snow and Dopey, Wood (2011), that is McCarthy’s first wood sculpture.
More images, story, and related links after the jump…
Like “White Snow,” which literally flips Snow White’s name, “The Dwarves, The Forests” twists familiar tales—or, in this case, a familiar cast of supporting characters. The dwarf heads modeled after drawings from “White Snow” are misshapen and riddled with holes, their bases mobile and on wheels, the bronze melted down only after the sculpture is “wrecked.” In this fairytale, beginning with “White Snow” (or earlier, with Snow White), there are holes and (literally) unfinished business, bronzed work tools that incorporate the artist explicitly into the story and miniature canons that create a battleground of dialogue.
“The Dwarves, The Forests” continues to sexualize Snow White and her dwarves. The extended noses of the dwarves—which are occasionally cannons, as in White Snow Dwarf Head 3 (2011)—are fashioned, in turns, in the shape of both male and female genitalia, in White Snow Dwarf Head 7 (2011) and White Snow Dwarf 4 (2011), respectively. Similarly, White Snow Dwarf Log, Male (2010-2011) and White Snow Loving Forest (2011), which stand out in a mostly bronze show, and which will be sets for future film work, render “The Forests” both male and female, through the dwarves, Snow White, and a conflation of the two.
Born in Salt Lake City in 1945, Paul McCarthy studied at the San Francisco Art Institute and at the University of Southern California. Represented by Hauser & Wirth, McCarthy has had solo exhibitions in museums, galleries, and festivals around the world, including Fondazione Nicola Trussardi, Milan; De Uithof, Utrecht; New York’s own Whitney Museum of American Art; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Whitechapel Gallery, London; and more. McCarthy is currently based in Los Angeles.
Below: more images from “The Dwarves, The Forests,” © Paul McCarthy. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth.
– R. Fogel