Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sources used for Project 2

"Tomato Head"

  • "Tomato Head" is a 1994 work done by Paul McCarthy. It is a mannequin that has a giant tomato in place of a head. The tomato, complete with eyes, nose, and mouth isn't exactly what it appears at first. The objects making up the facial features actually consist of many different objects including, rubber penises, rubber vaginas, fiberglass blocks, garden tools, and fake carrots. When it was originally located in Los Angeles, "extra accessories lay strewn across the gallery floor, a corpus of shared parts from which untold identities might be constructed."
  • This work is interesting when it comes to it's symbolization, but I believe it is relating human beings to regular objects. Objects that make us go round. Food, building blocks, genitalia essential for life, all seem to relate to an aspect of live or a life worth living. But is can also be interpreted as a sort of mockery, the large vegetable head seems to poke fun at the essentials of like, and the use of penises and vaginas is also surprising but also adds a bit of unique comic relief.
  • Once again, I'm stumped when it comes to relating this work of art with another piece I am familiar with, but if I had to pick one, it would coincidentally be another McCarthy work, entitled "Olive Oil". It takes this almost cartoon figure and morphs and molds it into a mockery of life. The tomato headed mannequin is obviously a fictional being that helps to act as a segway between real life and the imaginary, as does a cartoon figure such as Olive Oil.
  • I picked this work because it seemed kind of trippy. That kind of art is what strikes my fancy. The level of uniqueness is through the roof and I could literally go on and on about what I think this sculpture is trying to portrait. I may never get the correct answer, if there even is one, but the thinking is the fun part, it makes you think in strange ways and it intellectually grasps you and refuses to let you go.

"Santa with Buttplug"

  • "Santa with Butt Plug" (2002-2007) is a huge inflatable sculpture made by Paul McCarthy that is displayed in various places around the world, including, Germany and Belgium. The sculpture displays an all red Santa Claus holding a large pink sex toy and a bell. It is made of a weather resistant nylon fabric that is durable and does not rip easily. "Santa with Butt Plug" was transformed into a candy when McCarthy bought a factory and decided to make his work edible. "Chocolate Santa with Butt Plug" debuted in 2007 and were sold in $100 gift sets at a rate of 1000 per day out of New York. Thus, his work was able to get spread to those who had not yet seen the blow up sculpture.

  • McCarthy has always been partial to think outside the box and create images and displays that raise eyebrows, some in a good way, some in a bad way. However, when McCarthy came up with this behemoth of a sculpture, it is clear that he likes to assimilate his works to caricatures or simple figures like Santa Claus. McCarthy said that in addition to Santa, he enjoys characters such as Miss Piggy and Olive Oil and he describes them as "cultural fabrications". He takes a figure such as Santa Claus and applies modern day beliefs and what he came up with was Santa holding a sex toy. Whether you agree or not with his reasoning behind this work, it is clear he believes that Santa is such an iconic figure, but at the same time, these new elements are being introduced and gaining mass popularity that is spreading. He decided to combine the two, and what he got was a child's hero mixed with adults perversion.

  • This work really does not immediately reminds me of anything I have seen before. It is so unique to me, and that the idea that someone mixes two such diverse things, just puzzles me. But if I had to pick anything, it would be "Piss Christ" by Andres Serrano. At first glance the objects may not relate at all, but upon deeper analysis, I found that my feelings toward the two were very similar. They both take an iconic being, and do something totally outrageous and controversial. In one, Santa is holding a butt plug, and in the other, Jesus is submerged in a glass of urine. Both works are very controversial but at the same time, their affects on us are riveting. They offend some of us, but at the same time, they baffle us because we are so intrigued and shocked that we actually gain a respect for what they have done.

  • I chose this work of art because it immediately caught my attention, it is something you don't exactly see on a regular basis. Regardless, it hit me like a ton of bricks because I am all for being unique and expressing yourself and your beliefs through whatever needs you deem necessary. Although I may have found this structure to be a bit controversial, I love it because McCarthy is able to create something uniquely beautiful to describe his thoughts and feelings.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

"Spaghetti Man"

  • This work, entitled, Spaghetti Man, is a work done by Paul McCarthy in 1993 that portrays a doll like creature with a rabbit head and extremely large genitals. The work is made up of several different materials including faux fur, plastic, and polyurethane rubber. It is a three dimensional sculpture that reaches then feet tall. The "penis" measures in at 40 ft. long and coils at the base of the feet. The genitals protrude from the body where a vagina would typically be, and the end of the penis is cut at 90 degrees, showing no sculpted end, but instead an abrupt stop.
  • It seems rather difficult to place our finger on what exactly McCarthy is trying to portrait here, but several articles suggest, that, "It has the ironic humor of the fairy tales in which wishes are granted with mischievous results: the desire for a big organ is answered with a monstrous excess." This description is well represented when comparing it to the work itself. The body of a man, with a giant, one-eyed rabbit head seems like something straight out of a Dr. Seuss book or a childhood fairy-tale. The article also suggests that perhaps this is a visual representation of the male obsession with penis size, and that maybe bigger isn't better. The man may have wished for this large penis but it's looks and location seem to be a consequence of a selfish action, almost as if the man was tricked. He got what he wanted but dire consequences occurred as well.
  • To be honest, this work is extremely unique, thus the reason it doesn't remind me of many other works we have gone over in class. But if I had to pick one, it would be the work entitle "John and Paula, Sitting Bottomless" by Wolfgang Tillmans. This work comes to mind simply because it is one of the only other sexually explicit and rather revealing pieces of art that stuck in my mind. The genitalia of both works captures your attention, not because we are all perverted, but because it is shocking and intriguing when we see these kind of things that we are not use to seeing in everyday life.
  • Primarily I chose this piece of art because I found it extremely interesting. It was shocking but at the same time simple and unique. You could look at it over and over again and still find new ideas and themes that you hadn't noticed before. It is visually stimulating bust also mentally challenging because the meaning behind the work could be so many different things.