Paul McCarthy’s provocative practice lampoons polite society, ridicules authority, and bombards the viewer with sensory overload. The imagery is often sexually-tinged, violent and full of irreverent wit. The human figure is a constant element in his work, whether in the form of bodies in action, satirical caricatures, or animistic sculptures; Walt Disney and Santa Claus have recently been targeted by McCarthy's irreverent vision. McCarthy’s work confuses codes, mixes high and low culture, and provokes an analysis of fundamental beliefs.
His work has been shown in major exhibitions at Park Avenue Armory, New York (2013), Hauser & Wirth, New York (2013); Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin (2012); California College of the Arts, Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco (2009); Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2008); Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst, Ghent (2007); Moderna Museet, Stockholm (2006); and Haus der Kunst, Munich (2005); among others. He has participated in many international events, including the Berlin Biennial (2006); SITE Santa Fe (2004); Whitney Biennial (1995, 1997, 2004); and the Venice Biennale (1993, 1999, 2001). Paul McCarthy lives and works in Altadena, California.