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Paul McCarthy’s Low Life Slow Life: Tidebox Tidebook Exhibition Catalog and Artist’s Book

Paul McCarthy’s Low Life Slow Life: Tidebox Tidebook is a 640-page book that accompanies a two-part exhibition presented at the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts in San Francisco in 2008 and 2009. The exhibition was curated by the Los Angeles-based artist Paul McCarthy and organized by Wattis director Jens Hoffmann. Packaged as an instantly recognizable re-creation of a vintage Tide detergent box circa 1973, the book not only documents the show but is an artwork in its own right.

Paul McCarthThe publication offers a unique kind of survey of McCarthy’s career by bringing together a vast range of artworks and ephemera that have influenced him over the decades. It presents a personal map of his very individual take on art history, his unique creative philosophy, and his memories of his life and career. The years it covers begin with his time as a student in Salt Lake City, then San Francisco in the 1960s, and Los Angeles from 1970 to the present. With an emphasis on alternative performance practices, Conceptual art, and video art, McCarthy’s curatorial selections are eclectic and unconventional, deriving more from his personal recollections than from any historical, objective measure of artistic influence.

The meticulously assembled archive includes 550 pages of ephemera: essays, reviews, book excerpts, drawings, musical scores, newspaper clippings, periodicals, personal letters, and photographs, many related to the careers of other artists such as John Altoon, Gunter Brus, Howard Fried, Dan Graham, Allan Kaprow, Rachel Khedoori, Yves Klein, Tetsumi Kudo, Yayoi Kusama, Maria Lassnig, Robert Mallary, Gustav Metzger, Yoko Ono, Lil Picard, Jason Rhoades, Dieter Roth, Barbara Smith, Stan VanDerBeek, and Andy Warhol.

The book is copublished by the CCA Wattis Institute and Hatje Cantz Verlag, and it is designed by McCarthy in collaboration with Jon Sueda / Stripe SF. The featured texts include a new essay on McCarthy’s work by Wattis Institute director Jens Hoffmann, a statement by the artist on this ambitious project, and an interview with McCarthy conducted by Jens Hoffmann and curator Stacen Berg. Also included are installation photographs of the two exhibitions.

As an addendum to the catalog, McCarthy has made a special limited-edition print based on a work that appeared in the second of his two exhibitions: an image of Mickey Mouse that he painted over by hand with black house paint while it was hanging in the gallery. This new work continues McCarthy’s perverse fascination with the world of Walt Disney.

Paul McCarthy’s Low Life Slow Life: Tidebox Tidebook
2010. 648 pp., 550 color ills.
17.00 x 24.20 cm,
 softcover in Tide box
ISBN 978-3-7757-2573-6

About the CCA Wattis Institute
The Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts was established in 1998 in San Francisco at California College of the Arts. It serves as a forum for the presentation and discussion of international contemporary art and curatorial practice. Through groundbreaking exhibitions, the Capp Street Project residency program, lectures, symposia, and publications, the Wattis Institute has become one of the leading art institutions in the United States and an active site for contemporary culture in the Bay Area.

About the Wattis Institute Limited Edition Program
The Wattis Institute’s edition program offers limited releases by seminal international artists, including 2011 Venice Biennale representatives Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla, Abraham Cruzvillegas, Tim Lee, Roman Ondák, Jordan Wolfson, and Mario Ybarra Jr. The Wattis series of limited editions affords an opportunity to collect works by some of today’s most significant established and emerging artists. For direct sales and additional information please contact Micki Meng, Wattis programs coordinator, at [email protected] or 415.703.9521. Proceeds directly support the ongoing realization of the Wattis exhibition program.

California College of the Arts
1111 Eighth Street
San Francisco CA 94107-2247
T 415.551.9210

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