High-Art Skateboards for a Good Cause

Studio 360

The artistPaul McCarthy is famous for his provocative sculptures ---- like that giant butt plughe dropped on Paris last year.Now he's trying his hand at a different medium, the skateboard. As decks go, they're not cheap. But at around $350 each, they're a steal for a piece by a renowned (and reviled) artist who's been in the Whitney Biennial three times, and who shows at the tony international gallery Hauser & Wirth. And it's for a good cause: McCarthy is workingwithThe Skateroom, an organization that aims to bring education and leadership opportunities to underprivileged kids through the magic of skate culture. They're planning to use the proceeds to build askate park and school in central Johannesburg, South Africa.

It's a good pairing. Skate culture, withall its grunge and grunt, appeals to teenagers by giving mainstream culturethe finger. And McCarthy, approaching 70, has always been critical of capitalism and authority.In his work, McCarthy takes symbols of Western cultureand underminesthem. For his skateboards, McCarthy took commercial products ----Miracle Whip, Heinzketchup, Ken's head ---- anddirtied them up. Or maybe he's just letting thethe greed and corruption of consumer cultureshow.