Jack Sparrow, Heidi and Pinocchio having a hell of a party: Paul McCarthy at Charles Riva

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‘I’m not sure I would be able to have it in my living room’, Brussels-based French collector Charles Riva says of the Pirate Party Portfolio (2005): 79 provocative pictures of a monstrous party staged by American artist Paul McCarthy, inspired by Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean attraction. I know what Riva means. Although McCarthy’s art is rather grotesque, in one way or another he always succeeds in fiddling with my mind. Like that dream you had last night that you vaguely remember, but that nevertheless influences your mood. That’s why I’ll never forget visiting McCarthy’s outrageous exhibition at S.M.A.K. (Ghent) in 2007. But don’t let all of this scare you. Do visit the exhibition Charles Riva has set up with a couple of McCarthy’s works at his gallery in Brussels (through October 2), including that Pirate Portfolio. On view as well is Heidi, the video (62 minutes) McCarthy collaborated on with Mike Kelley in 1992, based on Johanna Spyri’s popular children’s book. (All pictures: Isabelle Arthuis; courtesy Charles Riva Collection)

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