A contemporary painter who was part of a group that sought to resurrect figurative painting, John Currin strives for work that reveals both individual characteristics as well as some aspect of their life. His portraits and nudes have received widespread attention, and his specialty is cartoon-like women who veer between the appearance of total bimbo and older women who are uncomfortable with their sexuality. He only paints about twelve paintings a year.
He was born in Boulder, Colorado, earned his B.F.A. from Carnegie Mellon University, and in 1986 graduated from Yale University’s MFA program. With such high-brow credentials, he sees the irony in the “bimbo” subject matter for which he has become known, and calls it “art for dummies.”
He had his first show in 1989 in New York at a downtown alternative space gallery and then signed with a more ‘main-line’ gallery. In 1993, his work was in the Venice Biennale and was also included in a 1997 Projects exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
He married sculptor Rachel Feinstein and works from a studio overlooking West 14th Street in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District.
David Kirby, “Beauty & the Bimbo”, ARTnews, May 2000
Biography from the Archives of AskART.