Strange Creations

A dizzying array of objects disorientingly suspended sideways in an enormous wooden box housed inside an even larger glass building: An Alice-in-Wonderlandesque trip? Nope, just another one of Paul McCarthy’s whacky works: “The Box” on display currently at Neue Nationalgalerie. Be sure to catch this artistic wonder from American Artist McCarthy!

McCarthy, not to be confused with the Beatles sensation, crafted a faithful replica of his studio inside an enormous wooden crate. In fact, he reproduced the visual chaos of his sanctuary to a frighteningly realistic degree: envision a trove of over 3,000 objects, ranging from the expected art supplies to the unexpected oversized crawling baby doll, decapitated mannequin head, and massive tube of bubble wrap beckoning you to crawl in and pop away. 

Flipped Upside Down

Although the installation provides a rare insight into the chaos of an artist’s studio, McCarthy does not allow you to enter his artistic den with ease. Only visible through a small opening and rotated 90 degrees, the cluttered interior of “The Box” will be sure to throw you into a discombobulating tizzy. 

baw-the-box copy

 “The Box” installation at Neue Nationalgalerie Photo by: Patricia Restrepo

The setting of this enormous three-dimensional collage in the Neue Nationalgalerie also heightens the intensity of the interior-exterior juxtaposition. Dominating the expansive exhibition space designed by Mies Van der Rohe, “The Box” has a complementary nexus to the minimal Bauhaus box in which it is housed. The light-filled building, endless sheets of glass interrupted only by steel frames, is in stark contrast to the crudely fashioned unpolished wooden crate, which is closed save for a small window opening. Thus, the force of the chaos erupting from the box-within-a-box is site specific. 

Now, before “The Box” finds a new home, ask yourself: Are you down for a dive into McCarthy’s box? 

Article written by Patricia Restrepo