‘I get censored four or five times a year’: Paul McCarthy, art’s virtuoso of vile

‘I get censored four or five times a year’: Paul McCarthy, art’s virtuoso of vile

August 4, 2020

From inflatable excrement to a porn James Dean, McCarthy has delved into America’s dark side. But has reality finally overtaken his ketchup-smeared visions of corruption?

Paul McCarthy’s vision of modern America is relentlessly revolting. His art depicts his nation as a crumbling edifice of pop culture, creeping fascism and depraved, uninhibited capitalism. “It’s always been this thing of looking at the underbelly of western culture, and the horror of its results,” he says over Zoom from his home in Los Angeles. “It’s a questioning of our condition, our way of life. Look at America right now with its racism and its violence, and yet we have Disneyland.” His art, he says, is “trying to expose that – the posing of the purity and the innocence”.

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