McDermott & McGough print featuring a black and white photographic of an old-fashioned telephone

McDermott & McGough

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McDermott & McGough

The Instrument of Millions of Messages, 1921/1998


Image: 13 1/2 x 10 1/4 inches | 34 3/10 x 26 centimeters 

Sheet: 25 x 20 inches | 63 1/2 x 50 4/5 centimeters

Edition of 14, Edition of 40

Signed and numbered

Artists in the fields of painting, photography, and, more recently, film, David McDermott and Peter McGough formed as a team in the mid-1980s. Better known by their surnames as the duo McDermott & McGough, the artists attempt to divorce themselves from this century through their dress, modes of travel, furnishings and manners. Like their predecessors, Gilbert and George, they have managed to create an elegant and engaging style of life and art, merging the two almost seamlessly.

David McDermott was born in 1952 in Hollywood, California, but spent most of his childhood in New Jersey. In the seventies he attended Syracuse University, studying advertising design. McDermott claims to have always been attracted to “old fashioned things,” from trying on a pair of high top lace-up shoes from the turn of the century as a fourteen year-old boy, to the vintage styles expressed in the team’s artwork. 

Peter McGough was born in 1958 in Syracuse, New York, later moving to New York City to attend the Fashion Institute of Technology in 1977. Despite the Syracusian link, the pair didn’t cross paths until they were both living in New York City a few years later.

Together, they challenge the American myth of progress through works celebrating the past with wit and panache, displaying the past’s links to the present, and its influence over “modern” action. Cunningly, they backdate their works to the time or era that they believe their art best fits. Often experimenting in various styles of photography in order to achieve their aims, the two have often reverted to old-style processes, such as cyantoping and the use of gum bichromate, palladium and photogravure. The articles featured in the Sentimental Education suite of prints are all personal clothing and furnishing and the images are printed as photogravures, an antique process for image reproduction, illustrating the completeness of their vision.

The works of McDermott & McGough can be found in public collections around the world including Terrae Motus, Caserta, Italy; Ellipse Foundation, Alcoitão, Portugal; and The Broad Art Foundation, Santa Monica, California.