Paul McCarthy ‘AirPressure’

Utrecht (NL), 2009 – Campaign, website, press and pr for Air Pressure, an outdoor exhibition featuring gigantic blow-up artworks by American artist Paul McCarthy in the Botanical Gardens of De Uithof.

Campaign Press


To make the exhibition of the controversial American artist Paul McCarthy accessible to a broad national audience - that was the assignment. AirPressure, the open-air exhibition of gigantic blown-up sculptures, debatable icons from McCarthy's work, was on display for ten weeks in the Botanical Garden in Utrecht's Uithof. After a pitch with Utrecht-based design agencies, Kummer & Herrman became the party to design the PR campaign for the exhibition.

McCarthy's work had previously caused a stir in the Netherlands due to the placement of the controversial Santa Claus sculpture in a Rotterdam square. The sculpture, an enormous Father Christmas with a 'Christmas tree' in his hand, was quickly renamed Kabouter (Gnome) Buttplug because of its resemblance to a sex toy.

This controversy was taken into account in a campaign that would attract young and old to The Uithof. In the street poster campaign, McCarthy's inflatable sculptures determined 95% of the image. In this way, the images were not too shocking and the materiality of the sculptures, some of which were 10 metres high, was emphasized. The A2 campaign, which was distributed indoors, drew on the many quotes that could be found on the Internet about McCarthy's work. The publication that followed contained a reflective essay and photos by professional and amateur photographers and was one of the winners of the Best Dutch Book Designs 2009.


Promoting AirPressure among Dutch newspapers and art press was easy - the exhibition was unusual, humorous and spectacular. This, combined with beautiful summer weather and good on-site facilities such as guided tours and picnic baskets, made AirPressure an exhibition that made it to all Dutch newspapers.

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