(American, born August 4, 1945) is a performance artist, sculptor, and video artist born in Salt Lake City, UT. McCarthy attended the University of Utah, and earned a BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1969 and an MFA from the University of Southern California in 1973. Originally inspired by the works of Allan Kaprow
(American, 1927–2006) and Yves Klein
(French, 1928–1962), McCarthy became known as a performance artist in the early 1970s. Through his subversive and frequently violent displays, McCarthy explores themes of childhood innocence, adult sexuality, and the relationship between the two—often incorporating the human body and pop culture references. In Hot Dog
(1974), he shoved multiple condiment-covered hot dogs into his mouth, a gesture that alluded to corporeality and consumerism. In the mid-1980s, McCarthy discontinued his live performances, but recorded many of his artistic activities on video. He began making kinetic sculptures and works from found objects, and later created large-scale sculptures reminiscent of cartoons and mascots. McCarthy's works have been exhibited at the Venice Biennale, the Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid, Spain, the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, and the Tate Modern in London, among many other venues. He lives and works in Altadena, CA.