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PRINT September 2005

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Rachel Harrison on Paul McCarthy

I HATE A PARADE. I hate the twined feelings of exclusion and obligation––like I don’t belong or that “belonging” involves accepting the passive role of watcher as the scripted procession rolls by. I don’t care to stand on the sidelines beholding a spectacle in regimented time slots, corny framed narratives, forced good spirits, and propagandizing themes. Parades are crowd control under the guise of celebration: You have to believe in “control” to participate at all. So why did I make a last-minute decision to attend a Sunday-morning parade celebrating Paul McCarthy’s “LaLa Land Parody Paradise” in Munich? Because I couldn’t help but wonder if the king of debased extravaganza, the master of desublimation, could pull off a reclamation ritual at the city’s Haus der Kunst, former repository for the art of the Third Reich and notorious site of Hitler’s speeches.

As it turned out, I wasn’t

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