PRINT November 2000


Purveyor of scandal-for-scandal’s sake or scream therapist purging the patient? Most of us don’t know PAUL MCCARTHY well enough to say: the west coast performance legend has managed to elude the retrospective radar in America. All that changes this month, as a three-decade survey of McCarthy’s work, organized by the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York, opens in Los Angeles at the Museum of Contemporary Art. On the occasion, TOM HOLERT examines a uniquely split artistic personality.

SHORTLY BEFORE HIS 1994 book Extension du domaine de la lutte (published in America under the perhaps felicitous title Whatever) earned him a reputation in cultural circles in France as “scandalous,” Michel Houellebecq embarked on a lecture tour of French art schools, addressing the relationship between quality and talent, as well as sexual failure. While in Avignon, he happened to witness a video in which

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