John Currin, one of the most highly regarded contemporary artists, will be the subject of an upcoming exhibition at Museo Stefano Bardini in Florence in 2016. The catalogue, including essays by Antonella Nesi and Sergio Risaliti plus an interview between the artist and Angus Cook, will be published in conjunction with the exhibition.
Currin is an extremely talented painter who is most well known for his portraits and his often risqué figurative scenes interpreted with ironic realism. Within his work, Currin searches for and creates paradoxes – between real and fake, contemplation and voyeurism, obscene and refined, and photographic truth and figurative imagination. The artist paints with deliberate honesty and studied frankness, casting aside any academic nostalgia and ideological dislike of figurative painting. Never unpleasant, revolting and never predictable, Currin takes on different genres and styles, choosing and alternating different themes and modes, such as portraiture, still life, the obscene and indecent, the lyrical and sentimental.
The curators of the exhibition worked together with the artist to select a group of paintings that will be displayed alongside the collection of the Museo Stefano Bardini – a museum dedicated to the great Florentine art dealer, collector and antiquarian who amassed an important collection of over 2,000 works ranging from sculptures and paintings to architectural fragments. Family portraits (Rachel, his wife, the three children Francis, Hollis and Flora), allegorical portraits (Flora, The Penitent, The Lobster) and female portraits (Bent Lady, Anna, Big Hands), female nudes (Nude in a Convex Mirror), will be in dialogue with a variety of masterpieces and mediums ranging from Donatello’s Virgins, little bronzes and Chinoiseries, carved frames, seventeenth-century paintings and Medieval wood statues.