Artists in both the fields of painting and photography, 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. This is evident in their works Extraordinaire: Bon Heur Incroyables 1907/1990, Distant Voices 1915/1991, and Fountain of Apollo 1865/1994.
The works of McDermott & McGough can be found in public collections around the world including Terrae Motus, Caserta, Italy; Ellipse Foundation, Alcoitao, Portugal; and The Broad Art Foundation, Santa Monica, California.