Steven Parrino | the artist

The artist Steven Parrino
Born 1958, New York, USA.
Died Jan 1 2005, Brooklyn, NY, USA.
Style and technique of the artist: Whitney Biennial, Sculpture Objects, Painting,

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Parrino's work was recently included in the Whitney Biennial 2006: Day for Night, Whitney Museum of American Art (2006) and in The Painted World, P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, (2005). Recent solo exhibitions of his work include the Musée d'Art Moderne et Contemporain in Geneva (2006) and the Palais de Tokyo in Paris (2007)...

"Star Suckers" (The Bastard Kids of Andy Warhol) and other works

When news of Steven Parrino’s tragic death reached Europe on 1 January 2005, the Swiss art scene was hit hard. The American biker, musician and artist who was born in 1958 had many friends and admirers, starting with kindred spirit Olivier Mosset. It was no exaggeration to call Switzerland his second home. Until his untimely demise Parrino’s work had drawn little attention in the US, and his virtual participation at this year’s Whitney Biennial with his last finished work felt more like a bitter and belated homage...

art of a generation of artists whose work evolved in the East Village scene during the late 1970s and early 1980s, Parrino’s work has been positioned in a number of awkward niches, none of which has been sufficiently accommodating to his iconoclastic stance. Shown and read against artists as diverse as Jack Goldstein, Sherrie Levine, Cady Noland, Mike Kelly and Jeff Koons, Parrino’s work both traffics in and negates aspects of popular culture, minimalism, the American body politic, and arte povera. Lacking critical support in the US, Parrino’s oeuvre has been enthusiastically supported by the European museum and gallery system while remaining relatively unknown here. A critical reappraisal of the work is already underway, however, brought about by his growing sphere of influence, particularly on the work of a number of significant younger artists...

Parrino called his mauled canvases “misshaped paintings,” in response to the shaped paintings of the sixties. This connection to art history is always present in his work—especially to Donald Judd. “The main thing wrong with painting,” Judd once wrote, “is that it is a rectangular plane placed flat against the wall.” Judd thought that art should be “specific, aggressive” and “seen [all] at once”; he once wrote, “The image, all the parts and the whole should be coextensive.” (Parrino himself said in 1987 that art should have “a certain clarity” and “a plain logic that is concerned with a whole effect, and has little regard for relational parts that detract from this whole”—a philosophy that’s pure Judd.) What’s odd about Parrino, though, isn’t that he draws from figures like Judd and Warhol; it’s that he’s also in with someone as unlikely as the early Julian Schnabel, who activated the surfaces of his paintings (in a particularly bombastic, quasi-heroic way) with jagged fields of broken plates...