February 22, 2016

Paul McCarthy:White Snow, Wood Sculptures

Henry Art Gallery at University of Washington
Paul McCarthy, White Snow, Bookends, 2011. Black walnut. Installation view of Paul McCarthy. Sculptures, Hauser & Wirth, New York, 2013. Courtesy of the artist and Hauser & Wirth. Photo: Genevieve Hanson.

The Henry presents Paul McCarthy: White Snow, Wood Sculptures featuring works—ranging in height from four to fourteen feet—that are derived from McCarthy’s interest in the 19th century German folktale “Schneewittchen (Snow White) and Walt Disney’s 1937 animated classic film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

Paul McCarthy (American, b. 1945) created these works by computer mapping them digitally and then scaling, shaping, and manipulating the final wood sculptures. The resulting pieces are recomposed, and sometimes grotesque, variations of familiar characters from the classic tale, including the Prince, Dopey, and Snow White herself. The centerpiece of the exhibition, White Snow, Bookends (2013), is a two-part monumental sculpture weighing a total of 36,000 pounds. The giant pieces are entangled and dislocated representations of the Prince and White Snow on horseback that recall the elaborate compositions of Baroque sculpture, but instead court truncated narratives and abstraction.

His work often described as provocative, McCarthy seeks to violently question conventions. Poking fun at and providing a biting critique of society’s most beloved symbols and deeply held beliefs. Throughout his career, McCarthy has been insistent on stretching and subverting the widely accepted notions of moral, social, and artistic order.

This is the first comprehensive presentation of this series in an American museum. The exhibition runs March 5–September 11.

There will be a press opening on Tuesday, March 8 at 10am.

Paul McCarthy: White Snow, Wood Sculptures is organized by Luis Croquer, Deputy Director of Exhibitions, Collections, and Programs, with project management by Susan Lewandowski, Manager of Exhibitions and Registration. The exhibition is generously supported by ArtsFund and the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation.


Also on view:
James Welling: Chronograph
Through June 26

Gift City: A Project by Keller Easterling
Through July 17

Six Weeks, in Time
March 26–May 8

The Brink: Jason Hirata
March 26–June 26


About the Henry
A museum of contemporary art and ideas, Henry Art Gallery presents provocative exhibitions by a multi-national roster of emerging and mid-career artists of note. Known for taking risks and for allowing space for uncertain outcome, we anticipate the conversations and opinions that will be important and relevant in the field.

For further information and image requests, please contact [email protected].

Thank you!

An email with a confirmation link has been sent to the email address you entered. To complete your subscription, click this link.