John Currin, "The Old Fur," 2010, oil on canvas, 50 x 38" Image courtesy Gagosian.
Coco Young's story: “I was interning for the art magazine Tar and Bill Powers—he’s an art director and gallery owner in New York and he’s also [fashion designer] Cynthia Rowley’s husband—wanted to introduce me to his friend John Currin. At the time I had no idea who he was. I was Googling ‘paintings by John Currin’ and what was coming up was his pornographic work, so I was a bit concerned and I even remember showing them to my mum. But I decided to meet him anyway—I say yes to most projects because you never know what might turn out. At his studio I really fell in love with his current work (while I like the pornographic paintings, I personally did not want to be posing like that) and so we decided to work together. One work––I think he is painting it now––features a fur coat that I had, which I posed with many times, both naked and wearing it. It reminded John of a fur coat his wife, Rachel Feinstein, had back when they met, so he was excited to be using it. I actually ended up giving it to him because I was mugged in Brooklyn last December when I was wearing it; it got torn and there is a lot of blood on the lining. It was my favorite coat, but there was no way I was going to wear it again, and I decided to give it to him for the sake of art. I know he often changes his ideas at the last minute, so I hope there will be a painting of that coat—for the memory if it.” (via Newness)
Currently Currin has an exhibition at Gagosian. Here's an excerpt from Charlie Finch's review at Artnet: "What has made Currin tolerable, even enlightening in the past is his warped sense of humor, whether it be turning his small son into an old man in one painting or watching his female relatives eroticize a Thanksgiving turkey. Absent this fey perspective, Currin is reduced to kitsch, a vast puddle of amorphous flesh too finely draped in pointless luxury, a trope which may fit his new luxurioso collector cohort, but is way too low on the taste scale for past fans of Currin's weirdo perspective like myself."
Ken Johnson reports in the NY Times: "Mr. Currin’s painting style is elusive. It resembles the work of a mid-20th-century anti-Modernist illustrator who has steeped himself in museum favorites from Velázquez to Renoir but never learned to draw properly. The way Mr. Currin hides genuine feeling behind coy facades is irritating, but his paintings remain fascinatingly bizarre."
"John Currin: New Paintings," Gagosian, Madison Avenue, New York, NY. through December 23, 2010.
John Currin: "Just don’t do things that depress you."
John Currin confesses in British press that stupidity is liberating