Mike Bouchet and Paul McCarthy
Jul 10 — Sep 10
Marlborough Monaco presents “Double Deck”, an exhibition by Paul McCarthy and Mike Bouchet, in collaboration with Marlborough Chelsea.
Contemporary art transgresses the very notion of the artwork as it is commonly accepted and understood. The artistic act no longer resides in the manufacture of the object but in its conception, in the discourses that accompany it, the reactions to which it gives rise, and so on. The work may be ephemeral, changing, biodegradable, blasphemous, or indecent. This is the work of McCarthy and Bouchet, who work on transient installations that challenge the status and the very architecture of the building that welcomes their show. Sometimes they go to extremes, mocking popular icons, like the Walt Disney industry, while also touching on religion and other topics. Therefore their works are situated at the junction of sensationalism and popular culture. The two artists are known for removing familiar objects from their usual contexts and transforming them into something unexpected. In their work, they explore the subversive universe of consumerism and idolatry, through an effort aimed at disorienting the viewer.
Mike Bouchet and Paul McCarthy have known each other for 25 years, and this particular project came about through a series of similar observations involving the Guggenheim museum, which initially started as a joke, and led to this serious body of work presented recently at the Portikus Museum in Frankfurt. This site-specific project takes on those preoccupations within an exhibition structure situated at several levels that involves not only the space of the main exhibition, but also various outside locations. Entitled “Powered A-Hole Spanish Donkey Sport Dick Drink Donkey Dong Dongs Sunscreen Model,” this exhibition proposed a number of installations and works whose point of departure was a satirical view of the Guggenheim Museum of Bilbao.
The “Double Deck” exhibition, here at Marlborough Monaco, is an extension of the Frankfurt exhibition. Its title makes reference, within this new context, to various notions and double-deck analogies—the gallery is situated on two levels, and is close in proximity to the port—but also to the architecture of the Guggenheim Museum of Bilbao, which is based at the Port of Bilbao.
The exhibition features thirty paintings: portraits of renowned architects like Santiago Calatrava, Mario Botta, Ming Pei, Le Corbusier, Mies Van der Rohe, Sir Norman Foster and actors like Liam Neeson and Sylvester Stallone. The show will also feature a series of paintings illustrating advertisements for sunscreen "Bilboa," as well as paintings from the Guggenheim Bilbao transformed into a warship. In front of the gallery, there will be a large inflatable bottle of “ Bilboa” sunscreen.
“Bilboa” sunscreen is an accidental misspelling of “Bilbao”, as well as what comes up under a Google search of the word “Bilbao”. Both words are suggested by Google, which provides images of the particular Italian sunscreen in their image bank. Mike Bouchet and Paul McCarthy have produced a series of paintings based on these “Bilboa” sunscreen advertisements. The notion of “Fun in the Sun” is also explored, and has many analogies in regards to the spectacle nature of the Guggenheim Bilbao, as well as ironic associations to the militaristic nature of the building’s architecture. The artworks that employ “Bilboa” sunscreen imagery become “Doubly” interesting in Monaco, and also up the ante into a “Double Deck”.
Mike Bouchet and Paul McCarthy are making work that is critical within art spaces, art institutions, and their own role in art. By this very virtue, they are also opening up methods of creative gestures, emphasizing the artists role as comedic relief, and creating situations that touch on important points in our time through the use of humor and artistic observations.
1970 Born in Castro Valley, California
Lives and works in Frankfurt, Germany.
1945 Born in Salt Lake City, Utah
Lives and works in Los Angeles, California.