Stop worrying about the corners: John Currin

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John Currin Untitled (1989) gouache on paper 28.3 × 24.1cm

This gouache was on instagram today, with a quote from John Currin. The thoughts about  parody, satire and not knowing what’s being satirised, are familiar to me. Likewise, his changing understanding of composition (looking at “the right parts of the canvas”), and the idea that one painting can train you in how to make the next one

“This is around ‘88 or ‘89, and was one of my first figural things. It was right at the beginning of my transition from macho abstraction to… I didn’t know where I was going. On one level, it is a kind of parody or satire—though it’s not satire because it’s not really knowing well enough what I think I am satirizing. But it is meant as a slapstick parody of figurative painting—specifically of the kind of images high school girls would make. So this is basically a hornless unicorn, I guess—but actually this trained me to look at the right parts of the canvas for the first time, stop worrying about the corners, all that kind of stuff—just change my persona.” —John Currin.


John Currin Untitled (1990)


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