Paul McCarthy: Lecture on Performance Art

The following text is taken from Front Magazine, vol. VII, no. 3, p. 14, January/February 1996:

Paul McCarthy’s art activities date back to the mid-60s when he was first informed by the work of Yves Klein and later by the Vienna School of Actionists. The best known of these performance artists were Hermann Nitsch and Schwarzkogler who used the human body, entrails from animals and blood as their medium. Later, McCarthy would substitute ketchup for blood in his performances. The work of Fluxus artists, and especially Alan Kaprow, was important towards his development as a performance artist.

Compared to his previous collaborative video work with Mike Kelly on “Heidi” or “Family Tying”, the more recent “Homage to Acconci” finds Kelly and McCarthy hiring young actors from Hollywood to reconstruct Acconci’s performances for video.

In 1983, McCarthy stopped creating live performances for public audiences. Since then, he has worked with components such as props he calls Robotic Sculptures to be photographed in quasi-like performances à la Hollywood sets, as in “The Garden”.

This will be Paul McCarthy’s premiere visit to Vancouver and to Canada. He will be talking to students at the University of British Columbia and ECIAD. His lecture for the general public will be held at the Western Front.

This project is co-sponsored by the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, UBC.