Menu

John Currin

John Currin, Bea Arthur Naked, 1991 Oil on canvas, 38 × 32 inches (96.5 × 81.3 cm)© John Currin

John Currin, Bea Arthur Naked, 1991

Oil on canvas, 38 × 32 inches (96.5 × 81.3 cm)
© John Currin

John Currin, The Neverending Story, 1994 Oil on canvas, 38 × 30 inches (96.5 × 76.2 cm)© John Currin

John Currin, The Neverending Story, 1994

Oil on canvas, 38 × 30 inches (96.5 × 76.2 cm)
© John Currin

John Currin, The Kennedys, 1996 Oil on canvas, 36 × 32 inches (91.4 × 81.3 cm)© John Currin

John Currin, The Kennedys, 1996

Oil on canvas, 36 × 32 inches (91.4 × 81.3 cm)
© John Currin

John Currin, Nude with Raised Arms, 1998 Oil on canvas, 46 × 34 inches (116.8 × 86.4 cm)© John Currin. Photo: Fred Scruton

John Currin, Nude with Raised Arms, 1998

Oil on canvas, 46 × 34 inches (116.8 × 86.4 cm)
© John Currin. Photo: Fred Scruton

John Currin, Stamford After-Brunch, 2000 Oil on canvas, 40 × 60 inches (101.6 × 152.4 cm)© John Currin

John Currin, Stamford After-Brunch, 2000

Oil on canvas, 40 × 60 inches (101.6 × 152.4 cm)
© John Currin

John Currin, The Clairvoyant, 2001 Oil on canvas, 22 × 16 inches (55.9 × 40.6 cm)© John Currin

John Currin, The Clairvoyant, 2001

Oil on canvas, 22 × 16 inches (55.9 × 40.6 cm)
© John Currin

John Currin, The Lobster, 2001 Oil on canvas, 40 × 32 inches (101.6 × 81.3 cm)© John Currin

John Currin, The Lobster, 2001

Oil on canvas, 40 × 32 inches (101.6 × 81.3 cm)
© John Currin

John Currin, Fishermen, 2002 Oil on canvas, 50 × 41 inches (127 × 104.1 cm)© John Currin

John Currin, Fishermen, 2002

Oil on canvas, 50 × 41 inches (127 × 104.1 cm)
© John Currin

John Currin, Thanksgiving, 2003 Oil on canvas, 68 × 52 inches (172.7 × 132.1 cm)© John Currin

John Currin, Thanksgiving, 2003

Oil on canvas, 68 × 52 inches (172.7 × 132.1 cm)
© John Currin

John Currin, Heritage Hall, 2003–06 Oil on canvas, 38 × 50 inches (96.5 × 127 cm)© John Currin

John Currin, Heritage Hall, 2003–06

Oil on canvas, 38 × 50 inches (96.5 × 127 cm)
© John Currin

John Currin, Sno-bo, 2006 Etching with aquatint on handmade Kochi NB paper, 18 × 14 ½ inches (45.7 × 36.8 cm)© John Currin

John Currin, Sno-bo, 2006

Etching with aquatint on handmade Kochi NB paper, 18 × 14 ½ inches (45.7 × 36.8 cm)
© John Currin

John Currin, Rippowam, 2006 Oil on canvas, 40 × 47 inches (101.6 × 119.4 cm)© John Currin

John Currin, Rippowam, 2006

Oil on canvas, 40 × 47 inches (101.6 × 119.4 cm)
© John Currin

John Currin, The Old Fur, 2010 Oil on canvas, 50 × 38 inches (127 × 96.5 cm)© John Currin

John Currin, The Old Fur, 2010

Oil on canvas, 50 × 38 inches (127 × 96.5 cm)
© John Currin

John Currin, Flora Currin, 2011 Oil on canvas, 24 × 18 inches (61 × 45.7 cm)© John Currin

John Currin, Flora Currin, 2011

Oil on canvas, 24 × 18 inches (61 × 45.7 cm)
© John Currin

John Currin, Tapestry, 2013 Oil on canvas, 46 ⅛ × 34 inches (117.2 × 86.4 cm)© John Currin. Photo: Rob McKeever

John Currin, Tapestry, 2013

Oil on canvas, 46 ⅛ × 34 inches (117.2 × 86.4 cm)
© John Currin. Photo: Rob McKeever

John Currin, Untitled, 2013 Charcoal and chalk on paper, 17 ⅞ × 13 ⅞ inches (45.4 × 35.2 cm)© John Currin

John Currin, Untitled, 2013

Charcoal and chalk on paper, 17 ⅞ × 13 ⅞ inches (45.4 × 35.2 cm)
© John Currin

John Currin, A Fool with Two Young Women, 2013 Oil on canvas, 19 ⅞ × 24 inches (50.5 × 61 cm)© John Currin

John Currin, A Fool with Two Young Women, 2013

Oil on canvas, 19 ⅞ × 24 inches (50.5 × 61 cm)
© John Currin

John Currin, Maenads, 2015 Oil on canvas, 48 × 36 inches (121.9 × 91.4 cm)© John Currin. Photo: Douglas M. Parker Studio

John Currin, Maenads, 2015

Oil on canvas, 48 × 36 inches (121.9 × 91.4 cm)
© John Currin. Photo: Douglas M. Parker Studio

John Currin, Untitled, 2017 Oil on canvas, 40 × 30 inches (101.6 × 76.2 cm)© John Currin

John Currin, Untitled, 2017

Oil on canvas, 40 × 30 inches (101.6 × 76.2 cm)
© John Currin

About

The one thing I can do is make a fairly convincing fantasy of happiness. It doesn’t mean that I’m happy or the painting isn’t creepy, but good melancholy comes from a thwarted joy, which is another way to describe parenthood, or marriage, or being alive.
—John Currin

John Currin uses classical painterly techniques to portray highly charged social and sexual taboos. With inspirations as diverse as Old Master portraits, pinups, pornography, and B movies, he paints ideational, challengingly perverse images of women, from lusty nymphs to dour matrons. Consistent throughout his work is the search for the point at which the beautiful and the grotesque are held in perfect balance.

As an undergraduate student at Carnegie Mellon University in the early 1980s, Currin painted abstract works in the style of Willem de Kooning, seeking to evoke the nude through visceral, expressive brushstrokes. By the time he went on to pursue his MFA at Yale University, he saw a “forced masculinity” in these early works and realized that they were an “attempt to be a tortured artist.” Reacting against this, he began to explore themes of innocence, humor, and sexuality—creating images of stylized horses, girls with feathered hair, large-headed caricatures, and realistic portraits of individuals and couples. In the early 2000s he went on to produce a series of paintings that combine hard-core pornography with traditional still-life elements, depicting explicit sex acts taking place in decorative interiors.

In 2011–12 Currin’s paintings were shown alongside masterpieces by the Dutch Golden Age painter Cornelis van Haarlem at the Frans Hals Museum in the Netherlands, revealing the historical links between the artists’ treatment of flesh, surface texture, light, and shadow. In the early 2010s Currin worked primarily on depictions of lone female nudes—rather than couples or threesomes—both in lounging, evocative poses and in classical portrait compositions. His wife, the artist Rachel Feinstein, served as Currin’s model for many of these works. Her distinctive classical features continue to make their way into his more recent paintings, in which he subtly distorts the face and body through mannerist elongations and other anatomical exaggerations.

Recently Currin has made the pornographic content of his paintings less explicit, relegating glimpses of sex scenes to the background, or implying eroticism through food or other symbols. While some paintings show blank smiling faces reminiscent of those in department store catalogues, others feature elderly couples seemingly unaware of the random objects perched on their heads. The lighthearted thinking and compositional planning behind these works was revealed in 2017 when Gagosian presented Currin’s drawings at Frieze New York. The career-spanning selection of works exposed the complex networks of historical and pop cultural references, as well as the simple jokes, that come together seamlessly in the artist’s expertly rendered paintings.

Fairs, Events & Announcements

Gagosian’s booth at Art Basel Miami Beach 2022. Artwork, left to right: © Gerhard Richter; © Amoako Boafo; © Richard Prince; © 2022 Judd Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; © Richard Diebenkorn Foundation; © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; © Stanley Whitney. Photo: Sebastiano Pellion di Persano

Art Fair

Art Basel Miami Beach 2022

December 1–3, 2022, Booth D5
Miami Beach Convention Center
artbasel.com

Gagosian is pleased to present a selection of modern and contemporary works at Art Basel Miami Beach 2022. Returning to Miami for the fair’s twentieth anniversary, the gallery is honored to have participated each year the fair has been held.

Gagosian’s booth at Art Basel Miami Beach 2022. Artwork, left to right: © Gerhard Richter; © Amoako Boafo; © Richard Prince; © 2022 Judd Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; © Richard Diebenkorn Foundation; © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; © Stanley Whitney. Photo: Sebastiano Pellion di Persano

Gagosian’s booth at Art Basel Miami Beach 2021. Artwork, left to right: © Albert Oehlen; © Judd Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; © Mary Weatherford. Photo: Sebastiano Pellion di Persano

Art Fair

Art Basel Miami Beach 2021

December 2–4, 2021, booth D5
Miami Beach Convention Center
artbasel.com

Gagosian is pleased to announce its participation in Art Basel Miami Beach 2021 with a presentation of modern and contemporary works. A selection of these works will also appear on gagosian.com and on Art Basel’s Online Viewing Room.

To receive a pdf with detailed information on the works, please contact the gallery at inquire@gagosian.com. To attend the fair, purchase tickets at artbasel.com.

Gagosian’s booth at Art Basel Miami Beach 2021. Artwork, left to right: © Albert Oehlen; © Judd Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; © Mary Weatherford. Photo: Sebastiano Pellion di Persano

Gagosian’s booth at Art Basel 2021. Artwork, left to right: © Ed Ruscha, © Mark Tansey, © Glenn Brown, © Succession Picasso 2021, © Jenny Saville, © Albert Oehlen, © Ellsworth Kelly Foundation, © Cy Twombly Foundation, © Mary Weatherford. Photo: Sebastiano Pellion di Persano

Art Fair

Art Basel 2021

September 24–26, 2021, hall 2, booth C8
Messe Basel
artbasel.com

Gagosian is pleased to participate in Art Basel 2021 with modern and contemporary works by gallery artists, as well as several special entries in the Unlimited and Parcours sectors of the fair.

Gagosian’s booth in the main sector of the fair will feature works by Georg Baselitz, Glenn Brown, John Currin, Urs Fischer, Helen Frankenthaler, Titus Kaphar, Rick Lowe, Albert Oehlen, Sterling Ruby, and Mary Weatherford, among others. A selection of these works will also appear on gagosian.com and on Art Basel’s Online Viewing Room.

To receive a pdf with detailed information on the works, please contact the gallery at inquire@gagosian.com. To attend the fair, purchase tickets at artbasel.com.

Gagosian’s booth at Art Basel 2021. Artwork, left to right: © Ed Ruscha, © Mark Tansey, © Glenn Brown, © Succession Picasso 2021, © Jenny Saville, © Albert Oehlen, © Ellsworth Kelly Foundation, © Cy Twombly Foundation, © Mary Weatherford. Photo: Sebastiano Pellion di Persano

See all News for John Currin

Museum Exhibitions

John Currin, Sunflower, 2021 © John Currin

Closed

John Currin in
Pictus Porrectus: Reconsidering the Full Length Portrait

July 1–October 2, 2022
Isaac Bell House, Newport, Rhode Island
www.artandnewport.org

After more than a century of falling out of fashion, the full-length, life-size portrait—which originally served as an ostentatious display of power and wealth that reinforced aristocratic and ecclesiastical hierarchies—has undergone a radical paradigm shift in recent decades. Contemporary artists have breathed new life into this old-fashioned genre by reinvigorating it with new subjects outside of passé Anglo-European power structures. This exhibition of full-length portraiture, curated by Alison Gingeras and Dodie Kazanjian, is a collaboration between Art & Newport and the Preservation Society of Newport County. Work by John Currin is included.

John Currin, Sunflower, 2021 © John Currin

McKim, Mead & White Stair Hall staged by Sofia Coppola in collaboration with Rachel Feinstein and John Currin, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2022. Photo: © The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Closed

In America
An Anthology of Fashion

May 7–September 5, 2022
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
www.metmuseum.org

In America: An Anthology of Fashion is the second portion of a two-part exhibition exploring fashion in the United States. Men’s and women’s clothing dating from the nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth century is featured in vignettes installed in select period rooms in the museum’s American Wing, surveying more than two centuries of American domestic life. The exhibition reflects these narratives through a series of three-dimensional cinematic “freeze frames” produced in collaboration with notable American film directors, including Sofia Coppola, who enlisted Rachel Feinstein and John Currin to sculpt and paint the faces of her mannequins. These mise-en-scènes explore the role of dress in shaping American identity and address the complex and layered histories of the museum’s period rooms.

McKim, Mead & White Stair Hall staged by Sofia Coppola in collaboration with Rachel Feinstein and John Currin, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2022. Photo: © The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Jennifer Guidi, Seeking Hearts (Black MT, Pink Sand, Pink CS, Pink Ground), 2021 © Jennifer Guidi. Photo: Brica Wilcox

Closed

Artists Inspired by Music
Interscope Reimagined

January 30–February 13, 2022
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
www.lacma.org

To mark the thirtieth anniversary of Interscope Records, the company invited artists to select albums and songs from Interscope’s groundbreaking catalogue and fostered exchanges between artists and musicians to generate resonant pairings. The exhibition, which includes more than fifty works, brings an intergenerational group of visual artists into dialogue with iconic musicians from the last three decades, providing a fresh perspective on influential music for the present moment. Work by John Currin, Jennifer Guidi, Damien Hirst, Titus Kaphar, Takashi Murakami, Richard Prince, Ed Ruscha, and Anna Weyant is included.

Jennifer Guidi, Seeking Hearts (Black MT, Pink Sand, Pink CS, Pink Ground), 2021 © Jennifer Guidi. Photo: Brica Wilcox

Installation view, and I will wear you in my heart of heart, FLAG Art Foundation, New York, May 1–August 31, 2021. Artwork, left to right: © John Currin, © Anna Weyant. Photo: Steven Probert

Closed

and I will wear you in my heart of heart

May 1–August 13, 2021
FLAG Art Foundation, New York
www.flagartfoundation.org

Centering on a gesture of care, the exhibition and I will wear you in my heart of heart explores the myriad ways in which thirty-five artists evoke tenderness through depictions of lovers and friends, familial exchanges, moments of solitude, and even a cowboy and his pastel pink unicorn. The exhibition includes recent and new works created for the exhibition that embody the cross-generational resurgence in figuration as a mode of exploring identity, cultural histories, and personal experiences. Work by John Currin and Anna Weyant is included.

Installation view, and I will wear you in my heart of heart, FLAG Art Foundation, New York, May 1–August 31, 2021. Artwork, left to right: © John Currin, © Anna Weyant. Photo: Steven Probert

See all Museum Exhibitions for John Currin

Press

See all Press