An initialism for Adolf & Eva, Adam & Eve, and Arts & Entertainment, ‘A&E’ is a multi-disciplinary project that evolved out of the artist’s film project ‘NV Night Vater’ (2019 –). Originally drawing from Liliana Cavani’s sadomasochistic erotic drama ‘The Night Porter’ (1974), the project continues McCarthy’s exploration of the origins of fascism, Hollywood, the contemporary art world, and the current political climate.
A&E, Adolf Adam & Eva Eve, Santa Anita session
A&E, MOTHER, Santa Anita session
A&E, POZZZY, Santa Anita session
A&E, EVAE, Santa Anita session
A&E, EVA, Santa Anita session
A&E, DEATH, Santa Anita session
These drawings, created by McCarthy during improvised performances between himself and Stangenberg while in character as forms of Adolf and Eva, serve as documentation of both McCarthy’s incisive critical lens and his career-spanning omnivorous practice including performance, video, and drawing. The ‘A&E’ drawings will be accompanied by a video work from the drawing sessions along with the platform sculpture the drawing performances were enacted upon.
A&E, Head Stack, Santa Anita session
A&E, Head Stack, Santa Anita session
A&E, Poo Bear, Santa Anita session
A&E, ASSSS, Santa Anita session
A&E, Table Stack Throne, Santa Anita Session
A&E, Eva Triptych #1, Santa Anita session
In the five-plus decades since his black paintings, McCarthy has continued to combine performance and markmaking with an additional complementary element – documentation of the performances and the pieces derived from them, a process that has become more obsessive and more extensive with each production, yielding a massive accumulation of video recordings, audio recordings, and still photographs.
A&E, Eva Triptych #2, Santa Anita session
A&E, Adolf Hold Still Smile Adolf, Santa Anita Session
A&E, Script Drawings, Pig Love
A&E, Eva Eats Adolf Adolf Eats Eva, Polka Polka Father Son Mother Daughter, Adolf
A&E, Garden of Eden, Yum Yum
A&E, Shit on Adolf, Cabo Drawings
‘I think of the A&E sessions as spinoffs looking toward the future, toward an A&E video series,’ McCarthy says. ‘The drawing and painting sessions are part of a trajectory in my work going back to the 60s, of drawing and painting as action or performance. In the drawing/painting sessions of A&E, we were ‘going into’ a realm, a world as both ourselves and as characters. The drawings were made on a big platform, a table that acted as a stage and or pedestal. Our actions were mashed together, entangled. Lilith was free to do as she wanted. I went in and out of drawing. The drawings came out of the arena we entered, ‘the other world.’
A&E, 9 Drawings
A&E, Script Drawings, 1-13
A&E, Eva Adolf, Love Birds Adolf & Eva
A&E, Table Stack, Santa Anita Session, 2 Channel Paul McCarthy, Adolf Adam Lilith Stangenberg, Eva E
A&E, Table Stack, Santa Anita Session, GP Paul McCarthy, Adolf Adam Lilith Stangenberg, Eva E
About the artist
Paul McCarthy is widely considered to be one of the most influential and groundbreaking contemporary American artists. Born in 1945, and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah, he first established a multi-faceted artistic practice, which sought to break the limitations of painting by using unorthodox materials such as bodily fluids and food. He has since become known for visceral, often hauntingly humorous work in a variety of mediums – from performance, photography, film and video, to sculpture, drawing and painting.
On view in Los Angeles
‘Paul McCarthy. A&E Drawings
A&E Drawing Session 2021
With Lilith Stangenberg’ is on view now through 17 July 2022 at Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles.
For more about the exhibition, download the full press release here.