This Week in New York Insider's Guide to Arts & Culture in New York City Since 2001



(photo by  Steven A. Gunther)

Wunderbaum makes its New York debut with work examining controversial public art project by Paul McCarthy (photo by Steven A. Gunther)

New York Live Arts
Bessie Schönberg Theater
219 West 19th St. between Seventh & Eighth Aves.
November 11-14, $15-$35, 7:30

In 2001, controversial Utah-born, California-based artist Paul McCarthy was commissioned by Rotterdam to make a public sculpture for Shouwburgplein, or Theater Square. However, the city ultimately rejected McCarthy’s work, a giant Santa Claus holding a rather phallic pine tree that soon became known as “Kabouter Buttplug,” or “Buttplug Gnome.” The sculpture was moved several times before finally parading into its new home in the Eendrachtsplein. The eco-conscious Dutch-Flemish collective Wunderbaum examines the controversy, and public art in general, in the multimedia Looking for Paul, which is having its New York premiere November 11-14 at New York Live Arts. In the piece, bookstore owner Inez van Dam has no appreciation for “Kabouter Buttplug,” so she decides to do something about it, going out to Los Angeles to confront McCarthy, who is rather familiar with confrontation. Looking for Paul features actors and creators Walter Bart, Inez van Dam, Matijs Jansen, Maartje Remmers, Marleen Scholten, and guest Daniel Frankl, with design by Maarten van Otterdijk.

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