Transgressive artist Paul McCarthy has taken over the sprawling Park Avenue Armory for his largest work to date, and this one looks like a doozy. A collaboration with his son Damon McCarthy, the show, called WS, "weaves together a fantastical forest and a three-quarter-scale house modeled after McCarthy’s own childhood home, with multi-channel video projections to immerse visitors in a world of fantasy and depravity." How depraved is it? Well, one tipster tells us the video features Snow White "rolling around in the kitchen naked covered in chocolate and sprinkles while McCarthy video tapes her with no pants and his wang out." Sorry kids, no one under 17 admitted.
"WS is a true Gesamtkunstwerk," says Alex Poots, Artistic Director of the Armory. "It is an overwhelming creation born out of the original Brothers Grimm fairytale and the subsequent popular interpretations that became iconic American symbols in the 20th century. Going far beyond the confines of the story, it explores the vast and at times distressingly dark corners of the human psyche."
WS is an evolving work-in-progress which will continue to change during the course of the exhibit, which opens to the public tomorrow and continues through August 4th. 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 (haunted?) 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.
The Park Avenue Armory is located at 643 Park Avenue (at 67th Street). Admission to WS is $15 for adults, $12 for students and seniors.