A&E Sessions – Drawing and Painting
After a long career of delightful depravity, Paul McCarthy presents new drawings, paintings, sculptures, and sound art that explores the mechanisms of power, politics, fascism, desire, and history.
Consisting of improvised performances with the actor Lilith Stangenberg, “A&E”—alternatively, “Arts & Entertainment,” “Adam & Eve,” and “Adolf Hitler & Eva Braun”—is indicative of McCarthy’s multidisciplinary method, synthesizing performance, film, sound, drawing, and sculpture. The works on view were all produced during two binge sessions of production, made in Santa Anita and Tehachapi, California. Atop a sheet of paper laid on a large platform, Stangenberg and McCarthy wrestled, tumbled, sketched, and smudged the work into existence, yielding a massive cache of documentation, including video, audio recordings, and still photographs in the process, some on view.
In a photographic still from one performance, Stangenberg, covered in charcoal, pastel, and likely other matter as well, straddles a sideways McCarthy, who valiantly twists to sketch with a piece. The resulting drawing, A&E, Exxa, Santa Anna session (2020) bears a conspicuously Hitler-esque mien, while A&E, EVADOOLF EVA, Santa Anita session (2020) features vulgarities, depicted, spelled out, and riffed on, like a bored child scribbling anagrammatic variations in a notebook during class.
Paul McCarthy, "A&E Sessions – Drawing and Painting" (performance still), 2020. Tables, chair, various materials, 121 x 96 x 144 inches. © Paul McCarthy. Courtesy the artist.