John Currin | the artist




The artist John Currin
Born 1962, Boulder, Colorado, USA.
Lives and works in New York.

Style and technique of the artist: Painting, Lowbrow,

John Currin Bibliography. a selection (links redirect to amazon.com)
John Currin: New Paintings. Currin’s influences range from Italian and Northern Renaissance paintings to popular illustrations from the mid-20th century. Whether portraits of older women, buxom girls, nudes with elongated bodies, or group scenes of domestic life, his works are characterized by baroque gestures, loose brushstrokes, unorthodox palettes, and detailed backgrounds that startle the viewer into a reconsideration of the tradition of painting. His “old master” techniques and individual style have earned him accolades from critics and collectors worldwide.
John Currin. Are the anatomically impossible figures Currin so lovingly depicts pitiable projections of an arrested sexuality or a brave exploration of (in the words of essayist Rosenblum) “the crumbling myths and icons of twentieth-century America, revealing, as in a warped looking glass, their bizarre surface and their dark underside”? Given that America’s “dark underside” has been exposed almost as often as its “innocence” has been violated, such critical formulations could easily be mistaken for intellectual window dressing. But a combination of confident execution and the often subtle referencing of everyone from Vargas to Lucas Cranach means that although there may not be more to Currin’s paintings than meets the eye, what meets the eye holds interest beyond the immediate moment of shock or titillation. Currin is his own best advocate here; his long interview with Rochelle Steiner-bluntly plainspoken, knowledgeable and entirely pleased with the fuss his work has caused-candidly reveals an engaging and unashamed artist on the make.
john currin
John Currin
. A catalogue of new work by American artist John Currin, one of the world’s foremost figurative painters.  John Currin’s work draws upon a broad range of cultural influences that include Renaissance oil paintings, 1950s women’s magazine advertisements, and contemporary politics. Labeled as mannerist, caricaturist, radical conservative, or satirist, Currin continues to confound expectations and evade categorization. While his virtuosic technique is indebted to the history of classical painting, the images engage startlingly contemporary ideas about the representation of the human figure. Currin paints challengingly perverse images of female subjects, from lusty doe-eyed nymphs to more ethereal feminine prototypes. With his uncanny ability to locate the point at which the beautiful and the grotesque are in perfect balance, he produces subversive portraits of idiosyncratic women in conventional settings. This much-anticipated volume comes four years after the definitive John Currin, and it features an interview with the artist by Angus Cook and six short-fiction essays by Wells Tower.
A Passion for Innocence: Sex and Sexuality in the Paintings of John Currin. Explores how paintings of the leading contemporary American artist John Currin (b. 1962) from about 1990 to 2010 divulge and represent anxieties over and changes in concepts and imagery of sex and sexuality in American culture. The paintings are divided into two groups. The first group of paintings of the 1990s portray in varied ways the deep and unsettling, yet furtive anxieties over sex and sexuality bound into identity, social and personal relationships, and public life. The second group of paintings during the first decade of the 21st century portray resolutions to these anxieties as these resolutions have come about in homosexuality, including lesbianism, individuals’ comfort with and display of their own sex and sexuality, and prevalent public imagery entailing sex and sexuality. Over this period of roughly two decades, Currin’s paintings reflect the supplanting of a traditional, Puritanistic regard of sex and sexuality with one originating in the Biblical tale of the Garden of Eden.
John Currin Selects. John Currin has here selected some 30 works of portraiture, ancient to modern, from the MFA’s permanent collection, evaluating them as one might a friend, enemy, or lover—subjectively, passionately, at times irrationally, but always with a visceral sense of connection and personal insight. Currin pairs these portraits, which in their juxtaposition become a composite self-portrait, with commentary on the works and the ways in which they relate to his own painting.


Biography and art, auction, artworks, interview, statement, website:









Original artworks, prints, exhibition posters, monographs, books, collectibles.

The sources for Currin’s masterfully crafted paintings may be found in Northern Renaissance and early Mannerist painting and the pages of popular fashion magazines. Currin synthesizes historical and contemporary styles, creating evocative images that examine the tradition of painting and the role of the female nude in art…
JC: The subject of a painting is always the author, the artist. You can only make an illusion that it’s about something other than that. I think that’s what the function of representation is: to give a painting the illusion of a subject. In the end, that’s why I started seeing no reason for me to paint abstractly. Some people would say, "Abstraction is as much a representation as anything else." But I wanted it to be more simple-minded. Why can’t I just be forthright about saying that I’m the author, that I’m the one who determined it?…
Works in the TATE collection
John Currin’s strangely disquieting paintings are depictions of contemporary people, rendered in a style characterized by distortion and elongation that is evocative of the painters of northern Renaissance, early Mannerism, and 20th-century modernism, including Grünewald, Parmigianino, and Picasso…


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