By Levine, Cary S.; Pettibon, Raymond; McCarthy, Paul; Kelley, Mike
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Extra resources for Pay for your pleasures : Mike Kelley, Paul McCarthy, Raymond Pettibon
80 “I’m proposing that reality itself can fluctuate,” McCarthy explains. “The bottle of mayonnaise within the action is no longer a bottle of mayonnaise; it is now a woman’s genitals. ”81 According to Ralph Rugoff, McCarthy’s metaphor mixing and semiotic overlapping are what distinguishes his work from most straightforwardly “critical” art: “McCarthy’s art works from inside the structures it critiques. . ”82 Rugoff’s description is virtually a definition of the grotesque. McCarthy’s tactics can also be linked to the mid-1970s music scene with which he was involved.
Humor does not promise us liberation: on the contrary, it warns us about the impossibility of global liberation, reminding us of the presence of a law that we no longer have reason to obey. In doing so it undermines the law. 50 Eco’s conception recalls that of Charles Baudelaire, who more than a century earlier similarly privileged the grotesque. ”52 The grotesque is the essential mechanism in Kelley, McCarthy, and Pettibon’s common strategy of entrapment. 53 In his 1989 article “Foul Perfection: Thoughts on Caricature,” Kelley distinguishes between the grotesque and caricature, terms often used interchangeably: “In caricature, distortion serves a specific purpose, in most cases to defame, while in the grotesque it is done for its own sake, as a formalized displacement of parts.
Silver Painting, Fantasy Island (1969), for example, is a large framed plywood panel, painted with metallic paint, stained by mud and encrusted with melted plastic-doll flesh. Such work is an outgrowth of his earlier Doyle Strong–inspired constructions and can also be linked to various precedents—Jean Dubuffet’s mineral paintings, for instance, or Rauschenberg’s dirt and gold paintings. However, as critic Daniel Baird 21 | P AUL MCCART H Y : MAKING CAR CRAS H ES observes, McCarthy emphatically engaged not just “low” culture but the “dimestore fantasies” trafficked by it.