Paul McCarthy and Son at The Box

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Paul McCarthy and his son, Damon McCarthy, were among the artists invited by actor James Franco to contribute a video installation to his Museum of Contemporary Art exhibition, Rebel, held in a warehouse in Hollywood.

The McCarthys, however, expanded on the ideas in an over-the-top, erotic, chaotic tour de force called Rebel Dabble Babble at a downtown gallery, The Box, that happens to be owned by Mara McCarthy, Paul's daughter. The show continues through July 7.


Both installations reinterpret themes from the classic Nicholas Ray film Rebel Without a Cause, with Franco playing the James Dean role. Paul McCarthy, known for the prevalence of nudity and body fluids in his performance art and videos, plays the part of a horny and obsessed Nicholas Ray, wearing a mask with a large nose and receding hairline and little else as he grunts and gropes the Natalie Wood character. Some of the action takes place in a bathtub where he sprays her with champagne and other liquids. Simultaneously, on another screen, the James Dean and Natalie Wood characters are kissing passionately while in another gallery a simulation of a porn film is being shot. The videos are seen amidst a recreation of the Jim Stark house from the original film that has been laid on its side, complete with staircase and walls bearing pictures and so forth. Behind the gallery, is a recreation of the Chateau Marmont’s Bungalow #2, where Ray lived while making the film and where Dean, Wood and other members of his young cast were guests for both work and play.


Even if you saw the Rebel installation, it is worth the trip to Traction Avenue to take in the full measure of a video projection titled "Fuck You, Pillow Talk, Staircase Argument, Stunt (Bungalow), Threesome, Red dress, Stunt (Bungalow)." The show is McCarthy at his best, stripping apart all of the multivalent connections to Hollywood history and film icons with reckless abandon.

All photos from Paul McCarthy & Damon McCarthy's Rebel Dabble Babble at The Box. Courtesy of the artists and The Box, LA. Photos by Fredrik Nilsen