The Easel

Archives: Rosanna McLaughlin

22nd November 2022

John Currin’s Paintings Are Disgusting and Amoral. That’s Why They’re So Good

Libido is in danger of becoming a “persona non grata, an entity too embarrassing to engage with openly” in contemporary art. Figurative painting is increasingly populated with works driven by a desire to be ethically good while avoiding “interiority”. Enter the work of John Currin, an artist known for his “libidinous” portraits of women. His current work is “horny, gross and humiliating” . But it expresses a sought-after quality – spirit. “A sick spirit, undoubtedly, but a spirit nonetheless.”