John Currin

Born in Boulder, 1962 and lives in New York

John Currin was born in 1926 in Boulder, Colorado. He received a BFA from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and an MFA from Yale University. His ambitious paintings seduce, repel, surprise, and puzzle. Currin’s masterful technique is achieved through the scrutiny and emulation of the compositional devices, graphic rhythms and refined surfaces of sixteenth and seventeenth century Northern European painting, while his eroticized subjects exist at odds with the popular dialogue and politics of contemporary art. With inspirations as diverse as Old Master portraits, pin-ups, pornography, and B-movies, Currin paints ideational yet challengingly perverse images of women, from lusty nymphs and dour matrons to more ethereal feminine prototypes. Consistent throughout his oeuvre is his search for the point at which the beautiful and the grotesque are held in perfect balance.
Currin’s work is represented in museum collections worldwide, including Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Art Institute of Chicago; Des Moines Art Center; Tate Collection, London; and Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris. Major museum exhibitions include “John Currin: Works on Paper,” Des Moines Art Center (2003; traveled to Aspen Art Museum); “John Currin,” Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (2003; traveled to Serpentine Gallery, London; and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, through 2004); “John Currin,” DHC/ART, Montreal (2011); and “John Currin meets Cornelis van Haarlem,” Frans Hals Museum, Haarlem, the Netherlands (2011–12).

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