Saturday, May 29, 2010

John Currin: Embarassed

This interview (the official interview on the Gagosian site) is quite worth a look.
I found it interesting that Currin said he was "embarassed" to the point of apology by his love of the old masters, the figure, beauty and skill. But then he was quick to confidently point out his modernist influences. Which, certainly don't reveal themselves in his work. Yet when I ran into Currin at the Met - gazing at a Titian nonetheless - he only expressed his deep love for the work.

I've often heard the same apologetic language, and the same modernist references from Vincent Desiderio, Eric Fischl, and Julie Heffernan. This is not to say that I doubt that they are influenced by modernism or that they should or shouldn't be so, but simply to point out the double standard here. This underlines the fact that the artist can't reveal his sincere love of the old masters, and or a traditional sense of skill and beauty, and also not be marginalized by the art world. If there is any reference, it must be purely ironic, or coldly cerebral. This is pluralism? All things are equal, they say - except of course humanism, traditional skill, and emotional sincerity. They state equality, and at the same time reinforce a subjective hierarchy based on historical revision and the artificial inflation of prices.

Where is the humanity?