Paul McCarthy (b. 1945, Salt Lake City, Utah) is considered amongst the most reputed and momentous contemporary artists. Since the 1960s, he has worked within a broad range of artistic expressions, spanning media such as drawing and sculpture as well as video and performance. McCarthy is often associated with Wiener Actionism and its brutal and relentless expressions, which sought to attack conformism, conservatism, and the contentment of society and the human spirit. Paul McCarthy challenges both his own and the audience’s boundaries and invites to view the ordinary with fresh eyes in order to discover how illusory and relative our conception of reality is.
McCarthy studied at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City (1968–69); earned a BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute (1969) and an MFA from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles (1972); and was a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles (1984–2003). His work has been shown in major exhibitions at 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.