Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Women of Franklin Street: John Currin

The Women of Franklin Street (2010)

The existence of photographic erotica would, you might have thought, have spelt the end of erotic illustrations.  Nothing could be further from the truth,of course, as the abstraction available to an artist can be used to create an image that the all-seeing lens of the camera is too blunt an instrument to convey.  Ever since Delacroix, artists used the new medium of photography as reference for their work and, indeed, the first French postcards of academic nudes were supposed to provide photographic reference for those without access to artist's models.

Dogwood 1997

Certain artists have taken erotic photographs and reverse engineered them into graphic works.  Most notably, amongst fine artists, is probably John Currin (1962-) who produced a series of paintings based on Danish seventies pornographic pictures a few years ago.  Currin infuses his distorted female bodies with a mixture of early Renaissance paintings, fifties women's magazines, Playboy and Fragonard.

Currin was born in Boulder, Colorado, and received his batchelor of fine arts degres from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and his masters from Yale.


  1. John Currin' pictures are really original and a bit weird ! I think about Julian Freud in a different style.

  2. Like Currin a lot .. favorite is his painting of 2 big busted girls measuring each other with a tape measure