October 28, 2015 - The Renaissance Society at The University of Chicago - Paul McCarthy: Drawings
October 28, 2015

The Renaissance Society at The University of Chicago

Paul McCarthy, Dwarf House, 2009. Pencil and collage on paper, 97 x 80 inches. Collection of Rena Conti.
Paul McCarthy
Drawings
November 8, 2015–January 24, 2016

Opening: November 8, 4–7pm, Paul McCarthy in conversation with Donatien Grau at 5pm

The Renaissance Society at The University of Chicago
Cobb Hall, 4th Floor
5811 S. Ellis Ave
Chicago, Illinois 60637
USA
Hours: Tuesday–Friday 10am–5pm,
Saturday–Sunday 12–5pm

renaissancesociety.org
Twitter / Instagram / Facebook

Paul McCarthy
Drawings
November 8, 2015–January 24, 2016

Opening: November 8, 4–7pm, Paul McCarthy in conversation with Donatien Grau at 5pm

The Renaissance Society at The University of Chicago
Cobb Hall, 4th Floor
5811 S. Ellis Ave
Chicago, Illinois 60637
USA
Hours: Tuesday–Friday 10am–5pm,
Saturday–Sunday 12–5pm

renaissancesociety.org
Twitter / Instagram / Facebook

The Renaissance Society presents over 75 rarely and never before seen works on paper from Paul McCarthy’s hundreds of "White Snow" drawings, produced between 2008 and 2015. This is the artist’s first solo exhibition in Chicago and is part of the Renaissance Society’s Centennial program celebrating its 100th anniversary.

Known widely for his prolific output of video, sculpture, performance, and installation, Paul McCarthy also works extensively in two dimensions. The ongoing series "White Snow" reveals the artist’s deft draftsmanship and layered, gestural approach to drawing. Co-curated by Solveig Øvstebø and Susanne Ghez, the current and former Executive Directors of the Renaissance Society, respectively, this presentation offers an opportunity to consider a significant area of this major artist’s practice.

Sex and mythology, bodies and violence, death and humor—these works are at once familiar and repulsive. With his characteristic irreverent wit, McCarthy melds the iconic 1937 Walt Disney depiction of Snow White with the darker forces of the fairy tale’s earlier incarnations. The selection here features figures in various stages of erotic play, architectural renderings, and textual annotation, ranging in size from small sketches to large collages. Also included are preparatory works for McCarthy’s major installation, WS, at the Park Avenue Armory, New York in 2013.

McCarthy’s drawings represent the threshold between fantasy and reality, the point at which the artist’s imagination directly crosses over into the physical realm before being further developed into three-dimensional and time-based productions. Together, they form a body of work that reflects drawing as a direct mode of expression and a space of possibility. 

The exhibition is accompanied by a series of related events, including the theatrical premiere of McCarthy’s seven-hour moving image work, WS

Tuesday, December 8, 7pm: Art historian Cary Levine presents lecture “The (De)Civilizing Process: Paul McCarthy’s Regressive Regimes” at the Film Studies Center, Cobb Hall, 3rd Floor (one floor directly below the gallery)

Thursday, January 14, 7pm: Screening of McCarthy’s White Snow Mammoth (2013, video, 90 minutes) at the Film Studies Center

Sunday, January 17, 2pm: Exhibition walk-through with Susanne Ghez and Solveig Øvstebø

Sunday, January 24, 1–8pm: Theatrical premiere of McCarthy’s WS (2013, video, 7 hours), at the Film Studies Center

All events are free and open to the public. The screening program is presented in partnership with the Film Studies Center at the University of Chicago.

Paul McCarthy was born in 1945 in Salt Lake City and lives and works in Los Angeles. Solo museum exhibitions include Lala land parody paradise at Haus der Kunst, Munich and Whitechapel, London (2005); Head Shop / Shop Head at Moderna Museet, Stockholm (2006) and Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst, Ghent (2007); Central Symmetrical Rotation Movement – Three Installations, Two Films at Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2008); and White Snow Dwarf (Dopey # 1) at Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2011). He has participated in many international events, including the Venice Biennale (1993, 1999, 2001); the Whitney Biennial (1995, 1997, 2004); SITE Santa Fe (2004); and the Berlin Biennial (2006).

The Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago is committed to supporting ambitious artistic experimentation, primarily through the commissioning of new works, and to fostering rigorous, interdisciplinary discourse. In addition to the exhibition program, this independent, non-collecting museum hosts lectures, concerts, performances, screenings, and readings, and regularly publishes catalogues and artist books, which are distributed widely.

All of the Renaissance Society’s exhibitions and events are free and open to the public.

The Renaissance Society turns 100 years old this year and celebrates with a special Centennial program of exhibitions and events from September 2015 to January 2016, including exhibitions by Irena Haiduk, Wadada Leo Smith, and Paul McCarthy; a presentation of archive materials from 1915 to 2015; a symposium addressing the role of the contemporary art institution; public programs on Gertrude Stein, visual arts on Chicago’s South Side, and more; and a significant new publication covering the Renaissance Society’s first century.

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