Currently on view at the Betty and Edward Marcus Sculpture Park at Laguna Gloria
The sculptor and performance artist Paul McCarthy uses satire, dark humor, and intentionally confrontational taste to question the dominant belief systems and social conventions of American culture. In McCarthy's hands, children's storybook figures and cartoon characters turn naughty, forgoing happy endings for disturbing and often hilarious scenarios. White Snow #3 belongs to the artist's ongoing exploration–in sculpture, drawing, film, and installation–of the dark nineteenth-century German folk tale Snow White, and, in particular, Walt Disney's sugarcoated adaptation.
At first glance, McCarthy's Snow White is pristine and serenely contemplative: a classic fairy-tale princess at home in an idyllic rose garden. But a closer look reveals the familiar character to be part of an abstracted scene of debris and disorder, reminiscent of the chaos of the artist's studio. McCarthy's deceptively sweet figure equally attracts and repels those who encounter her, challenging viewers to reconsider preconceived notions about beauty, art, and pop culture.