David McDermott was born in 1952 in Hollywood, California. He studied at Syracuse University from 1970 to 1974.
Peter McGough was born in 1958 in Syracuse, and studied at the same university in 1976. Their paths never crossed until they both moved to New York City some years later and started their artistic collaboration in 1980.
McDermott & McGough are best known for using alternative historical processes in their photography, including the techniques of cyanotype, gum bichromate, salt, tri color carbo, platinum and palladium. Among the subjects they approach are popular art and culture, religion, medicine, advertising, time, fashion and sexual behavior.
Their photography involves appropriating images and objects from the late 19th century to the mid 20th century, and they project an image of themselves as gentlemen, posing as erudite, impertinent characters. Since 2006, in the timeless approach that remains the basis of McDermott & McGough's work, the artists also draw from the powerful narrative and dramatic imagery from Hollywood movies of the 1940s to the 1960s. These melodramatic films were based was on exaggeration or even excess of emotion.
McDermott & McGough’s work has appeared in solo and group exhibitions at public institutions such as Frankfurter Kunstverein, Whitney Museum of American Art, New Museum of Contemporary Art, Centre Pompidou, Kunsthalle Wien, Manezh Moscow and the Irish Museum of Modern Art. Previous exhibitions also include the Whitney Biennial, New York, in 1987, 1991 and 1995. McDermott & McGough mounted a mid-career retrospective at the Provincial Museum voor Moderne Kunst, Oostende, Belgium.
McDermott & McGough live and work in Dublin and New York City.
- Velvet Rage, Flaming Youth and The Gift of Desperation, James Fuentes, New York, USA
- The Temple of Photographic Art, Galerie Andrea Caratsch, St. Moritz
- Cyan Light Abstract, M77 Gallery, Milan, Italy
- Culmination, Vito Schnabel Gallery, New York
- Iconic and New Paintings, Maruani Mercier Gallery, Brussels, Belgium
- Suspicious of Rooms Without Music or Atmosphere, Cheim & Read, New York
- McDermott & McGough, Galerie Andrea Caratsch, Zurich
- In Dreams You're Mine, Galérie Jérôme de Noirmont, Paris.
- The Palm Beach Story or Whatever Happened to Baby Jane, Sarah Gavlak Gallery
- Palm Beach. Two-person exhibition with Jack Pierson.
- International Center of Photography, New York
- La Collezione Terrae Motus, Caserta, Italy
- Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles
- Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
- Spencer Museum of Art, University of Kansas, Lawrence
- Tampa Museum of Art, Tampa
- Walker Art Center, Minneapolis
- Whitney Museum of American Art, New York