Pirate Heads


Bronze, group of 5 sculptures

Variable dimensions

Since the 1970s, Paul McCarthy has been ruthlessly critical of the dominant value system in western societies, particularly in the United States. His work, tinged with excess, paradox, black humour and the grotesque, takes the form of performance, sculpture, painting, drawing, video and photography. The American artist often appropriates inoffensive icons or figures of political or artistic oppression.

His sculpture Pirate Heads (2009) attacks the figure of the pirate, synonymous with pillaging and deceitful democracy. Five bronze heads called Captain Dick Hat, Dick Eye, Shit Face, Pot Head and Jack, compose a parody of the obsession with the power and dominance of America, in both military and sexual terms (two major themes of his work). The sculpture, designed at the time of the invasion of Iraq, plays with notions of virility and masculinity.

Pirate Heads by Paul McCarthy was first presented by the Pinault Collection at the "Eloge du Doute" (“In Praise of Doubt”) exhibition at the Punta della Dogana (2011-2013).