76 rue de Turenne, 75003 Paris France
Oct 16 - Dec 18 2021

Fuzz Gathering

Perrotin Paris is pleased to host a new exhibition of works by American artist Barry McGee, his third solo exhibition with the gallery, and the first in Paris. Using a playful range of media, the artist shares his candid and insightful observation of modern society and a continued dedication to recognizing and supporting marginalized communities.

Barry McGee has mastered the art of turnaround, which surely stems from his legendary street alias, TWIST. In his studio, graffiti extends beyond the plastic form, reaching towards experience, material, memory, attitude, an underground community. Inside or outside, Barry McGee’s painting is thus a situationist drift within anesthetized cities. Privatized cities where structures proliferate and hostile architecture blocks errant lives: the vertigo of skaters, pigeons and all other potential sources of disorder.

A reluctant icon of the California scene, exhibiting legally or illegally in the streets, in alternative spaces or in institutions, Barry McGee always paints according to the exaggerated scale of the urban landscape. Photography, sculpture, drawing, performance, video, salvage, archives, fanzines: the artist manipulates different media without hierarchy, but always akin to a painter who explores, documents and manipulates urban memory.

Digging into his family history explains the recurrence of Asian figures and the display of violently overturned cars and trucks in his paintings. Barry McGee was born in San Francisco in 1966 to a Chinese-American mother, who worked as a secretary, and an Irish-American father, who specialized in car body repair and customization. His father compulsively drew on coffee shop napkins in pen. These compositions are still today included in Barry McGee’s exhibitions; they’re also at the origin of his drawings of faces with hairy reflections, based on a haunting homeless man with a peculiar hairstyle and beard he crossed paths with.

Barry McGee’s anger is faint but continues. A calm anger, expressed in black and red within the artist’s paintings. A painting practice which, failing to reverse the system, propagates itself like termites do, gnawing away at structures of domination. Such is Barry McGee’s painting: a silent bite mark that incites other ones.


Text by Hugo Vitrani

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