About the Artwork

Paul McCarthy’s ‘Apple Tree Boy Apple Tree Girl’ (2010) belongs to the artist’s Hummel series, executed on a monumental scale. The kitsch mid-century German figurines depict rosy-cheeked children in idyllic repose. In McCarthy’s world, this Aryan naïveté becomes a target for parody, and ultimately, defilement and disfigurement. The figures deformed innocence suggests the conditioning of children, from Hitler youths to contemporary, TV-addled teen consumers. The miniature Adam and Eve find themselves reborn as 18 foot Überkinder; they remain only a suggestion of their former selves, sweetly deformed to the point of abstraction. The implicit naïveté of the Hummel motif is materially deconstructed, portraying a sophisticated fall from grace for these darling figures, in simultaneously literal and metaphorical terms.

Year: 2010

Copyright the artist; Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth Photo: © Nick Turpin




525 x 208.3 x 189.2 cm(Boy); 546.1 x 290.8 x 213.4 cm (Girl)

Artist Biography

Paul McCarthy

Born in 1945 in Salt Lake City, Utah, Paul McCarthy is one of the most important and influential contemporary American artists. He is known for challenging, visceral work in a variety of mediums – from performance, photography, video and installation, to sculpture, drawing and painting – and scales ranging from tiny to monumental. Playing on popular illusions, delusions and cultural myths, his work has often incorporated obsessive activities and challenged expected physical orientation. Absent or present, the human figure has been a constant in his work, whether through the artist's own performances or the army of characters he has created to deliberately confuse codes, mix high and low culture, and provoke an analysis of our fundamental beliefs. McCarthy studied art at the University of Utah and went on to receive a BFA in painting at the San Francisco Art Institute in 1969. He studied film, video and art at the University of Southern California, receiving an MFA in 1972. From 1982 to 2002, he taught performance, video, installation and performance art history at the University of California, Los Angeles. Recent solo exhibitions include Fundació Gaspar, 'WS & CSSC, Drawings and Paintings', Barcelona, Spain (2017); ‘Paul McCarthy: White Snow, Wood Sculptures’, Henry Art Gallery, Seattle WA (2016); Hauser & Wirth, 'Paul McCarthy. Raw Spinoffs Continuations', New York NY; 'Paul McCarthy. Drawings', The Renaissance Society, Chicago IL (2015); Schinkel Pavillon, Berlin, Germany (2015); 'Inbetween. Baselitz – McCarthy', Economou Collection, Athens, Greece (2015); 'Paul McCarthy. Spin Offs: White Snow WS, Caribbean Pirates CP', Hauser & Wirth Zürich, Switzerland (2015); 'Chocolate Factory', Monnaie de Paris, Paris, France (2014) and ‘Paul McCarthy – WS SC’, Hauser & Wirth London (2014). In February 2014 he realised a collaborative exhibition project with Mike Bouchet at Portikus in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. In summer 2013 McCarthy presented three solo exhibitions at Hauser & Wirth New York 18th and 69th street. In June, 'WS' went on display at Park Avenue Armory in New York, McCarthy's largest installation in the United States to date. Other solo exhibitions include 'The Box', Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin, Germany (2012); the artist's first transatlantic exhibitions, 'The King, The Island, The Train, The House, The Ship' and 'The Dwarves, The Forests', which opened respectively at Hauser & Wirth London and Hauser & Wirth New York in 2011; 'Pig Island', Fondazione Nicola Trussardi, Milan, Italy (2010); 'White Snow', Hauser & Wirth New York NY (2009); 'Paul McCarthy – Air Pressure', an exhibition of inflatable sculptures at De Uithof, City of Utrecht, Netherlands (2009); 'Central Symmetrical Rotation Movement – Three Installations, Two Films', Whitney Museum of American Art, New York NY (2008) and the travelling retrospective, 'Paul McCarthy – Head Shop / Shop Head' which first opened at Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden (2006); and travelled to Aarhus Museum of Art, Aarhus, Denmark (2007) and Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst (2007 – 2008). Paul McCarthy currently lives and works in Los Angeles CA.