The Dutch experimental performance troupe Wunderbaum ended a three-week residency with REDCAT on Saturday with their final performance of Looking for Paul, which focused on the social and political ramifications of Los Angeles-based artist Paul McCarthy’s controversial Santa Claus (2001) statue in Rotterdam. Created through public funds, the resemblance of the statue’s Christmas tree to a certain sexual toy earned the work a new nickname—the “Buttplug Gnome.”
As the starting point of its project, the troupe brought bookstore owner Inez van Dam to LA to search for Paul McCarthy. Her shop and apartment overlook the square that houses McCarthy’s work, and she’s not a fan of the statue. The onstage performance started off with a slideshow from van Dam and quickly evolved (then de-volved) into a discussion on public funding for the arts in both the U.S. and the Netherlands, celebrity, Lady Gaga and a jaw-dropping re-enactment Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
24700 caught up with three of Wunderbaum’s members, Walter Bart, Matijs Jansen and Maartje Remmers at CalArts on Friday after they talked to the School of Theater about the development of their project for REDCAT. We also posted a few production stills below.