Paul McCarthy 1998

TRANS Gum by Paul McCarthy
Cover for TRANS>8 magazine
Silkscreen on chewing gum
10 x 8 in (25.4 x 20.32 cm)
The gum is still in its original packaging and attached to the magazine

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TRANS Gum was created as an edible image of Santa Claus individually hand silk-screened onto an eight-by-ten inch piece of chewing gum. It was the cover of TRANS>8, a seminal critical issue and artworks published in 2000. The release coincided with McCarthy’s exhibition at MOCA and at the New Museum. Very few copies of TRANS> gum exists intact at this point. Each version is different as to how the ink has bled and the gum color has aged.

By transforming the traditionally sanctified icon of a happy Santa Claus into a demented, sexual image—as seen in his video performances Tokyo Santa (1996) and Santa Chocolate Shop (1997)—Paul McCarthy examines the distressed state of the human psyche. Often staged as an act of violence and a perversion of certain behavioral patterns, his performances always combine such devices as irony, exaggeration, and the grotesque. Translated for the first time onto a pink, sugary, odoriferous, oversized stick of bubble gum, he continues to challenge boundaries.

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