The Dogwood Thieves
written by John Currin
A.S.A.P | ISBN 9780979764257
Hardback – 88 pages
Member’s price: $45.00
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In 2004, John Currin (born 1962) began a large-scale painting that would eventually be titled "The Dogwood Thieves." What ensued was six years of humorous missteps, uncomfortable second-guesses and painterly "faux pas," all visually presented here in 39 previously unreproduced and no longer extant iterations of a single painting. "John Currin: The Dogwood Thieves" is an entertaining portrait of the sometimes agonizing artistic process, and follows the artist's initial inspiration from the photograph of a magazine advertisement to what would become dozens of paintings atop paintings. Currin shows how he went about changing night skies into ocean horizons, how a Russian bra evolved upon a pair of bare breasts and why his wife's face underwent a lengthy transformation and traded features with a 1980s newscaster and then a 1970s Danish porn star. It also displays the delicate balancing act Currin maintains more generally in his work as he maneuvers between a broad range of cultural references, from women's magazine photography and photorealist kitsch to Renaissance oil painting drapery and personal narrative. Combining visual documentation with a lecture Currin gave at the Acadia Summer Arts Program in 2010, this book is, as the artist puts it, "partly just to show kind of what I go through to make a painting," but "also to dispel any notion that it's a good thing to work on a painting for six years."
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