Paul McCarthy: The Box

About the Exhibition

The Box by Paul McCarthy (b.1945, Salt Lake City, UT) is an exact yet dramatically skewed replica of the artist’s entire studio placed inside a giant wooden crate. Set at 90 degrees, McCarthy’s studio-in-a-box is physically disorienting with every piece of furniture, video equipment, tool, paper and prop emerging from the right-hand wall instead of the floor. In this sideways studio, the original floor and ceiling become walls, and the original walls become the floor and ceiling. Viewing the space through the frame of one of the studio’s rectangular windows, the sculpture transforms into a monumental 3-D painting that is twenty feet high and stretched fifty feet to the rear of the room.

The outside of The Box is made of unfinished wood while the inside contains every one of the studio’s thousands of actual objects and is complete with openings that are identical in location and size to windows and doors of the actual studio. The contents of The Box are all placed in the same visually chaotic position as they were in the original studio. The nature of the box’s interior—its distorted perspective, enormous length, and unbelievable clutter—charges the space with an obsessive, disconcerting quality.



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