Currin, but not in the flesh

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Post by Emily Brown

I write you as one who has only seen articles and reproductions. I just can’t stop myself from writing you now, because your news is fresh and I’ve been thinking about [John] Currin (shown Currin’s The Veil).

The painter’s attitude is brazen and narrow, perverting the affectionate work of Norman Rockwell [and] parodying the American Dream.

It is hard to deny that as a culture we are in a quagmire of consumerist addiction and self-involvement, and John Currin is making this point again and again.

He tells his moral tale in a shallow if seductive voice. The people he portrays are not admirable or even likeable; rather, he plays on the senses to engage the viewer in their situations.

I am tempted to compare him negatively with Hieronymous Bosch (shown Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights detail), but don’t care to honor him with this connection.

There is something very cheap about Currin’s view of life. He lacks the subtleties, the range, the inspiring ‘other side’ that the great ones have given us.

–Emily Brown’s show at Gallery Joe ends Dec. 20

 

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