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John Currin Untitled, 1990

John Currin
Untitled, 1990
Oil on canvas
34 1/8 x 30 1/8 inches


John Currin is a contemporary American artist, born in Boulder, Colorado in 1962. Currin is known for his signature style, combining classical techniques of Northern Renaissance paintings with his satirical attitude towards his subject matter. Themes in his work most often include social and sexual taboos. His paintings are simultaneously beautiful and grotesque, and the artist produces works steeped in both art history and kitsch. “I find I can't get rid of my trashiness as an artist,” he explains. “A lot of my themes in painting, to the extent that there are intentional themes, are meant to bring that conundrum into high relief.” Early in Currin’s career, as an undergraduate student at Carnegie Mellon University, the artist was interested in painting abstract works, inspired by the paintings of Willem de Kooning. However, during his time at Yale, receiving his MFA, Currin reacted sharply against the works of the abstract expressionists, and began exploring the humorous, hyper-sexualized series that he is known for today. Currin was the subject of a mid-career retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 2004. Currin currently lives and works in New York City with his wife, the artist Rachel Feinstein, who also often poses as a model for his work. Today, the artist’s works are held in the collections of the Tate Gallery in London, The Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, among others.