Paul McCarthy
Propo - Miracle Whip, 1992
Paul McCarthy (1945)
Propo - Miracle Whip, 1992
186 x 125 x 6 cm

Through these images, Paul McCarthy revisits his own artistic production, casting a new light on it. As told by the artist himself, between 1972 and 1983 he did a series of performances which involved masks, bottles, pans, uniforms, dolls, and stuffed animals, among others. Afterwards, some of these props were collected and stored in suitcases and trunks. In 1983, the artist presented the closed suitcases containing these items as a sculpture, stacking them on a table. Finally, in 1991, he opened the trunks and photographed each item as part of a series he titled PROPO. Given their sodden and soiled appearance, these props could be seen as a twisted version of Pop art, or a critical commentary on American society and consumerism. Relics of a near past, these processed foods–ketchup, mayonnaise, and chocolate sauce–evoke bodily fluids. The latter could also be confused with paint, suddenly aligning these images with a more traditional notion of art. However abject, these grim products continue to conjure a nostalgia for the familiar goods.

Image: © Paul McCarthy
Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth