Henry Art Gallery
March 05, 2016 — September 11, 2016
The Henry presents an exhibition of black walnut sculptures by American artist Paul McCarthy (born 1945). Ranging in height from four to fourteen feet, the works that occupy the museum’s lower level gallery are the product of the artist’s interest in the nineteenth-century German folktale Schneewittchen (Snow White) and Walt Disney’s beloved 1937 animated classic film.
For these works, the artist turned to computer mapping to digitally scale, shape, and manipulate the final wood sculptures. The resulting pieces are recomposed, and sometimes grotesque, variations of familiar characters from the classic tale, such as the Prince, Dopey, and Snow White herself. The centerpiece of the exhibition, White Snow, Bookends (2013), is a two-part monumental sculpture weighing a total of 36,000 pounds. The giant “tchotchkes” are entangled and dislocated representations of the Prince and White Snow on horseback that recall the elaborate compositions of Baroque sculpture, but that instead court truncated narratives and abstraction.
In his protean and unbound work McCarthy has sought to violently question conventions. Poking fun at and providing a biting critique of society’s most beloved symbols and deeply held beliefs, McCarthy is intent and insistent on stretching and subverting the widely accepted notions of moral, social and artistic order.
This is the first comprehensive presentation of this series in an American museum.
Paul McCarthy: White Snow, Wood Sculptures is organized by Luis Croquer, Deputy Director of Exhibitions, Collections, and Programs, with project management by Susan Lewandowski, Manager of Exhibitions and Registration. The exhibition is supported by the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation and ArtsFund.