Just after his last trip to Iraq, Brian sat for an interview with Reuters while in Beirut. The story was picked up by dozens of on-air and online outlets around the world including The New York Times, Al Jazeera Plus, US News and World Report, Indian Express, Brut/Dailymotion, and PBS News Hour (seen above).
Shot for the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, the photo below celebrates the upcoming exhibition “Kaiju vs Heroes,” featuring Mark Nagata’s unrivalled collection of vintage Japanese toys. Born out of the cultural ashes of World War II, these distinctive soft vinyl figures became both a means for Japanese Americans to reconnect with their culture and an apt metaphor for postwar relations between the United States and Japan. The show opens September 15th, 2018 and runs until March 24th, 2019.
Mark is a brilliant artist, designer, and the original founder of Super7. He left to start his labor of love – the Max Toy Company. The immensely popular toys that he designs and produces (like Captain Maxx and Drazoran seen in the photo) are heavily inspired by archetypical characters from Japanese pop culture in the 1950s and 60s. Brian has enjoyed getting another chance to collaborate with Mark after so many years. He shot Mark's iconic Eyezon figure (now in the permanent collection of The Strong, National Museum of Play) back in 2008.
The University of Houston's Clear Lake Gallery is hosting the touring exhibition "WAR-TOYS: Israel, West Bank, and Gaza Strip," curated by Catinca Tabacaru, produced by ExhibitsUSA, and supported by the Mid-America Art Alliance and the National Endowment for the Arts.
The show is up from January 29th until March 15th, 2018. Brian will be on hand for a closing reception and artist's talk on March 8th from 6-8pm.
On stands now, the latest issue of Hi Fructose magazine contains a 12-page feature on Brian's War-Toys series with a very thoughtful and thorough piece on the work written by Silke Tudor. Within the article are the first drafts of new work from Brian's six-weeks in Iraq with Terre des Hommes Italia and IOM / UN Migration Agency.
An advocacy campaign for UNICEF France was recently released. A series of previous War-Toys photos was posted on social media with the hashtag #ChildrenInWar, earning wide praise, including from French President François Hollande. Flatteringly, he specifically mentioned the work during opening remarks at a UNICEF-supported conference on child rights in Paris.
Entertainment Weekly recently commissioned a unique shoot of Aquaman for their “Heroic Double Issue." Often the butt of jokes, Brian shot the Justice League co-founder at the bottom of a swimming pool as he tried to look super serious amongst resident goldfish, understandably fascinated by the King of Atlantis.
The issue is on stands now with Doctor Strange on the cover and a ranking of the 50 most powerful superheroes inside. Pick up a copy to see how Aquaman stacked up!
On Thursday, October 6 at 6:30pm, Brian will be speaking at the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art about his experiences developing WAR-TOYS and collaborating with war-affected children in the Middle East. He will be sharing details behind the art-therapy-based project and some of its resulting photographs. The talk is presented in conjunction with the ongoing exhibition Turn the Page: The First Ten Years of Hi-Fructose.
The event is open to public. MOCA Members Free / Non-members $5
The main gallery at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock will host the traveling exhibition "WAR-TOYS: Israel, West Bank, Gaza Strip" from September 1st until October 20th, 2016.
Brian will be speaking at the university on September 21st as part of a public event marking the International Day of Peace.
“WAR-TOYS” is a striking portrait of war from the eyes of children. The exhibition features Brian McCarty's meticulously composed toy photographs, taken on location in areas of active conflict. Using an art therapy based approach and working with NGOs, McCarty invited children living in these areas to art direct his photos through supervised drawing and discussion. The results are powerful, interpretive documents of witnessed events and shared fears.
The exhibition includes the children's drawings as well as some of the locally acquired toys used in the photographs. "War-Toys: Israel, West Bank, Gaza Strip" is curated by Catinca Tabacaru and presented by the NEA-funded Mid-America Arts Alliance and ExhibitsUSA.
University of Arkansas at Little Rock
151 Fine Arts Bldg.
2801 S. University Ave.
Little Rock, AR 72204
Free and Open to the Public
Beginning May 21st, the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) will feature some of the foremost contemporary artists through a ten year retrospective of the art magazine, Hi-Fructose. Turn the Page: The First Ten Years of Hi-Fructose is a collaborative initiative by two like-minded organizations – MOCA in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and Hi-Fructose The New Contemporary Art Magazine in San Francisco, California. This multi-faceted exhibition will feature artists working in a variety of media including sculpture, installation, painting, ceramics, and photography as well as interactive community outreach and satellite exhibitions. A wide selection of educational programming, film screenings, panel discussions, and events will provide the public an opportunity to interact with the art and artists in exciting new ways.
Brian has the honor of being the sole photographer in the exhibition. A special reissue of his View-Master® reel from Hi Fructose Vol.3 will be shown in an interactive display. Due to clearance issues that prevented Fisher-Price from including an image in the original printing, this will be the first time the 3-D series will be seen as it was intended.
The exhibition is organized by the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art. Curated by Alison Byrne, Director of Exhibitions and Heather Hakimzadeh, Curator
Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) May 22 - December 31, 2016
Akron Art Museum, Akron, Ohio. February 10 - May 7, 2017
Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, California. June 11, 2017 - September 17, 2017
On April 9th, Artscoops will offer two WAR-TOYS prints at an art auction in Beirut. All proceeds from the sale of the prints will benefit the Kayany Foundation and fund an art therapy program at their schools for Syrian refugees in Lebanon. Both photographs were created in collaboration with boys and girls under the care of Kayany in 2014. Reproductions of the children's drawings that served as art direction and inspiration are included in the sale.
Saturday, 9 April 2016 - 4:00pm
Le Yacht Club Gallery
Auctioneer: Edward Rising
Curators: May Mamarbachi & Janet Rady
View catalog online at: artscoops.com/auction
Brian was commissioned by Disney Consumer Products to create a unique series of photos for the "Dream Big, Princess" campaign. The photo series celebrates the Disney Princesses’ incredible stories and unique inner qualities that help them achieve their dreams by recreating iconic moments from the animated movies on elaborate studio sets using Hasbro and The Disney Store dolls. Brian enlisted legendary stop-motion house Screen Novelties to hand build many of the needed elements.
A selection of behind the scenes photos can be found on Brian's Instagram.
A commissioned series for Nickelodeon gave Brian the opportunity to play around the streets of New York with the iconic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Since 1987, action figures of these “heroes in a half shell” – made by Playmates Toys – have dominated store aisles and fueled children’s imaginations. Bringing the characters to life as they tore through Times Square and breakdanced in Brooklyn was a massive treat for Brian.
The resulting series has started showing up on licensed property and point-of-purchase displays in Target Stores nationwide. The “sewer periscope” placed at child-level gives boys and girls the opportunity to flip through seven of the photos and see the turtles in action. Judging by how much wear-and-tear can already be seen on the viewers, they seem to be a hit with kids! Brian is flattered to be offering up some turtle-powered inspiration to the next generation.
The Aftermath Project is a non-profit organization committed to telling the other half of the story of conflict — the story of what it takes for individuals to learn to live again, to rebuild destroyed lives and homes, to restore civil societies, to address the lingering wounds of war while struggling to create new avenues for peace.
Brian was shocked to learn that the Islamic State had appropriated and altered one of his WAR-TOYS photos from Gaza, turning it into propaganda promoting extremist beliefs.
In the altered photo, IS removed the Cinderella toy and replaced it with their flag and other iconography, protected by some sort of shield. The propaganda piece circulated online for several months before its use was discovered by the image-tracking service Pixsy. With Pixsy's help, the altered image has largely been removed from social media sites like Twitter. From Brian:
"I couldn't have imagined that the intention of the work would be corrupted so horribly and used by a group like ISIS. They took a little girl’s very real fear of war and turned it into something promoting extremist beliefs – ones at the core of unspeakable amounts of death and suffering."
The original photo was art directed by a girl at a UNRWA-run school in Gaza. She made a drawing that was filled with tanks, soldiers, and helicopters along with a sky-full of missiles targeting a crying girl. When asked about the drawing, she focused on those two elements – the girl and the missiles. Brian photographed her account in Gaza using locally found toys while missile strikes were hitting close-by.
For more information on the theft and WAR-TOYS project, visit its website at wartoysproject.com
Last October, a giant billboard-sized photo shot by Brian went up at the flagship Toys "R" Us store in Times Square. The photo, featuring toy versions of Finn and Jake from Adventure Time, was produced as part of a larger series for Cartoon Network in Atlanta. While on display thousands of children and their families had a chance to see the massive display in person.
Beginning in 2016 and continuing through 2020, the NEA-funded Mid-America Arts Alliance will present a traveling exhibition of War-Toys photographs, drawings, and artifacts curated by Catinca Tabacaru. The exhibition titled War-Toys: Israel, West Bank, Gaza Strip will tour various institutions and museums throughout the US. Exact dates and venues will be posted as they are solidified over the coming year.
The Mid-America Arts Alliance (MAAA), headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri, is one of six not-for-profit regional arts organizations funded by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). Founded in 1972, MAAA creates and manages regional, multi-regional, national, and international programs including traveling exhibitions, performing arts tours, and professional and community development events.
Catinca Tabacaru, J.D./LL.M., founder of New York-based Tinca Art, curates War-Toys: Israel, West Bank and Gaza Strip. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley (2003) and her graduate degrees from Duke Law School (2007). She spent her early career working for the United Nations’ International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the Office of Chief Defense Counsel for the Military Commissions at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. In 2010 she founded and then served as the first Executive Director of Women’s Voices Now. This background in justice, conflict, and human rights informs and inspires her exhibitions.
Brian is honored to be working with such a remarkable group of people equally dedicated to promoting human rights and the arts.
November 5th - 26th, the cutting-edge Peanut Underground Art Projects in NYC will host a preview exhibition of WAR-TOYS: Israel, West Bank, Gaza Strip. The show, curated by Catinca Tabacaru / Tinca Art, will feature a selection of recent work alongside the children’s drawings that served as art direction and inspiration. An installation of ambient sounds from the region will accompany the images and provide an opportunity to further understand the experiences of the children.
Brian will be in NYC for the opening event on Tuesday, November 5th from 6-9pm. There will also be an intimate artist's talk and book signing at the gallery on the evening of Saturday, November 9th from 6-9pm.