On Tuesday we sent a photographer to the Park Avenue Armory to shoot the new installation from infamously transgressive artist Paul McCarthy. Upon arrival, we were told that the McCarthy had decided not to permit outside photography of the massive exhibit. Instead, the Armory distributed a handful of approved images to the media. While stunning, they give little indication of the extremely graphic nature of some of the work on display. But now a tipster has sent us unseen explicit photos of the show, and it's easy to see why no one under 17 is admitted! Click through... if you can handle it (and if your boss is awesome). Again: NSFW!

The show, called WS (an abbreviation of White, Snow), is a twisted exploration of the dark, sexual side of fairy tales, specifically the Disney version of Snow White. The first thing you'll see upon entering the drill hall is a massive artificial forest filled with towering 30-foot tall trees and colorful, oversized flowers that extend across a raised lush landscape. Nestled at the center of the installation is an 8,800-square foot yellow ranch-style house (a three-quarter-scale exact replica of McCarthy’s childhood home), where the project’s video performances were filmed. According to the Armory's press materials:

Surrounding the installation, large-scale video projections feature scenes from a subversive and explicit alternative fairytale in which the character Walt Paul—played by McCarthy as an amalgam of himself and the archetypes of a movie producer, artist, father and other roles—cavorts with a cast of characters including White Snow, a figure who represents both the archetypal virgin and vixen, a daughter as well as a fairytale princess. Dwarves, the Prince, and doubles for Walt Paul and White Snow are part of the action. Drawing loosely upon the classic story and interweaving references to the history of art, the performance becomes a bacchanal.

According to our tipster, the videos, as well as the life-like human replicas inside the house, are extremely graphic. I haven't seen the show yet, and this sort of thing tends to be fairly subjective, but here's New York art critic Jerry Saltz:

I did not like it much, but not because it is "demented, debauched and just plain dirty." It is. Very. It depicts simulated sex, male and female rape fantasies, crazy characters doing crazy things, the dark side of the id. I will say that I’m awed by the spectacle and scale of the thing. McCarthy's ability to occupy and take over space, even the most impressive interior in New York City, is undeniable, impressive, singular. I doubt that anyone has ever been able to do this to this extent in this space before.

The NY Post, meanwhile, has been whipped up into a predictable demagogic fury over WS, and notes that the Armory received taxpayer funding to reopen as an art space five years ago: $30 million came from the Empire State Development Corp., $15 million from the city. Asked about the funding, Armory president Rebecca Robertson compared it to the production of movies, which receive tax subsidies and other support from municipalities to produce R-rated work. “I think we did what movies do,” Robertson told the Times. “It’s a clear and effective way to tell people about the content and who it’s appropriate for."

"Just because it’s darker doesn’t mean it’s not valid,” Robertson also told GalleristNY. “It may be difficult—really difficult—but I think that artists have been depicting hell since art began, and this is a very contemporary version of it." I'll reserve judgment until I see the show myself, but this liberal East Coast elitist is not bothered in the slightest about tax money funding a cultural institution that isn't afraid to be controversial. And as Saltz put it, "pacifists have to pay for the Pentagon; prudes get art that offends them."