Saturday, February 03, 2007

frosted danish



Click here to see a discussion of the source images for John Currin's recent porn paintings. I'm fascinated by the places where the paintings are different from the photos.

Also have been thinking about Currin vs. Lisa Yuskavage... in discussions with painter-friends, LY's work has been characterized as "misogynist" and "self-loathing," while Currin has been characterized as "self-mocking." ...this was also my reaction to their respective shows. But if their genders were switched, would the perception of their work be different? I'm trying to figure out where Yuskavage's anger is being expressed, vs. Currin's humor...

10 Comments:

At 12:58 PM, Anonymous easily confused slothy said...

Maybe I have it all wrong...? I can't tell what I think about this anymore...

 
At 3:13 PM, Blogger friknidjit said...

I think they both buy in to the predominant conservative ethos, oddly enough...

 
At 4:25 PM, Blogger sloth said...

conservative because they're painters? or because of their subject matter?

 
At 4:59 PM, Anonymous Cataract said...

LY paints torpid flesh in the evening. I don't see anger, I see culpability and cunning. She abuses curves and folds with pastels and glowy lights. JC is self-dazzled. He hunts and bites with the confidence of a Republican. If he were a woman I would peg her with stones. If LY were a man I would infest him with roaches. This is not an example of art criticism, it is a symptom of lack of understanding.

 
At 12:19 AM, Anonymous slothy said...

Cataract, your understanding is deep, it is wide. Yes glowy lights, yes to the bites. LY paints herself as a doll, smooth and manufactured, and JC paints flat, manufactured porn-people into caricatured life... two sides of the same coin?

The smoothness, the gelled lights, suggest insecurity in some way...? The JCs were more willing to fail.

 
At 9:21 AM, Anonymous Cataract said...

I appreciate a willingness to fail. Also insecurity in the form of dimmed lighting. It covers up a world of hurt not to mention poor depiction skills.

 
At 11:43 AM, Anonymous sloths said...

cataract, I put milky bluish syrup on my eye-bones and now the world is pretty & soft and blue, and I am painting much much better. for this inspiration I thank you, cataract... can i call you cats?

 
At 11:51 AM, Anonymous slothy said...

leaving for beantown soon. dreads.

 
At 12:07 PM, Blogger fairy butler said...

Up until this last show i would have totally agreed with the characterization of LY's work as self-loathing/misogynist. However, I have always liked it - as off-putting as it may have felt - because of the tension between the beautifulness of her paintings and the complicated feelings they conjure up. Her last show (well, some of it) went different places for me with the inclusion of the second figure. These I find very compelling/poignant and beautiful- they were exploring something else. Here's an example:

http://www.davidzwirner.com/exhibitions/120/work_2280.htm

As for Currin's work I have always thought of them as mocking but not as self-mocking. (Is he in a lot of his own work?) I feel like his work is more... not literal exactly, but maybe "pictured." Less of an internal/searching dialogue and more of a statement - really clever joke/statement about society and painting and art world and man & woman and yadda yadda. Don't get me wrong, he's a great painter and I have followed his work for years, but it feels more factual to me. More calculated.

In general - Currin projects anger at the world - LK projects anger at herself... ?

 
At 12:39 PM, Blogger sloth said...

thanks fb... it's becoming more clear, I think. part of the reason I am wondery is because my first take on the LY show was positive, but then subsequent conversations with friends skewed my opinion; I liked the show, liked the bernini reference (I love bernini), and the subject matter seemed... psycho-allegorical? but other artists I respect thought her color was terrible, un-nuanced, kitsch, not as luscious as it used to be, and they found the self-loathing off-putting. The more we talked about it, the more I started to perceive the same probs. Wish I had gone back to see the show alone...

& to me, the JC show seemed a bit more open and searching, and now I am thinking that the self-mocking part of the work is in the distortion decisions (small hands and feet, etc.) and in the empathy he seems to have for some of the "characters" in his paintings. In the one of the woman reading with the faraway expression, she seems so dreamy, I believe he loves this person in some way. The other reading woman with the giant forehead is really supposed to be Currin himself, looking at a (pamphlet-sized) catalog of his life's work. The old man with the flowy hair is supposed to be his son in 60 years.

I think I'm just more interested in the world that JC is depicting, like when you look around the subway and wonder about the biographies of people you see sitting around you. LY's ladies are all kind of.... blank somehow.

 

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