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Sexuality in contemporary art


Sex - or at least an implication of it - is one of several constants in McCarthy's work. His sketches abound with scribbled genitalia, often positioned where they shouldn't be - a penis in place of a nose, a scrotum as an absurd hat. McCarthy's sculptures and installations are similarly replete with sexual imagery, and his performances, above all, seem orgiastic in every sense - a riot of drooling, gorging, shitting, mutilation and frenzied dry-humping.

It's little wonder, then, Sexuality in contemporary art his work is usually seen as a commentary on desire "Sexuality in contemporary art" not only sexual, but the kind of primal, ungoverned urges elemental to the human psyche. McCarthy's point is that such instincts are ultimately controlled by agents other than ourselves: Nevertheless, McCarthy's depiction of the dionysiac is largely metaphorical, with strictly self-imposed limits. There is never any real sex or violence in his performances; instead, food staples such as ketchup, chocolate sauce and mayonnaise stand in for blood, shit, snot and sperm - an ever-present reminder of the ugly nature of consumerism itself.

McCarthy's artistic stance is highly individual, and his use of sexual imagery far from conventionally erotic.

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