June 19, 2013
By Fan Zhong
Earlier this spring, 85 tractor-trailers rolled out of a downtown Los Angeles warehouse bound for New York. They were hauling the building blocks of a colossal artificial forest, which the artist Paul McCarthy has now installed in Manhattan’s Park Avenue Armory for WS, his major solo exhibition opening on Wednesday. As he’s done in the past with Caribbean pirates and Santa Claus, the artist recast a (mostly) innocent childhood fantasy—in this case Snow White—through film, performance, and sculpture, creating a vividly grotesque nightmare barely recognizable to anyone weaned on Disney. (Don’t bring the kids.)
On a May afternoon, the artist’s son Damon McCarthy, 39, was overseeing the installation of the 8,800-square foot set in the Armory. The stage was maybe two-thirds finished, but the fake earth, foliage, and towering foam trees already seemed to fill the vast space. “My father feels this is his biggest accomplishment as an artist,” Damon told me. It is certainly the largest in sheer size. In recent years, Paul McCarthy has emerged as a contemporary titan working on a scale as spectacular as that of Jeff Koons. (The New York Times called their latest dueling New York gallery shows “The Battle of the Big.”) Damon, who manages the studio in L.A. and collaborates closely with his father, has been instrumental in helping realize this outsize vision. Read More .