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Carroll Dunham

American  •  b. 1949

Biography

Satire and sexuality meet Carroll Dunham's vivid brush in the artist's often large-scale fantasy worlds. His eye-popping cartoonish veneer takes a cue from Philip Guston while his primitive "visual language" of faceless figures continues a long line of tradition—think back to Paul Cézanne and Pierre-Auguste Renoir.

Though Dunham jumps between abstraction, figuration, pop, surrealism and cartoon, his works almost exclusively center on the subject of women's sexuality. He also favors painting, though he has delved into prints, works-on-paper and sculpture. His paintings can be seen as contemporary variations on nineteenth-century portraiture of women bathing, injected with similar concerns of those classical and early modernist artists.

Insights

  • Critically discovered in the early 1980s, Dunham showed with beloved gallerist and patron Ileana Sonnabend in her New York gallery from 1988 to 1994.

  • With fellow artist Laurie Simmons, a member of the Pictures Generation with representation from Jeanne Greenberg's Salon 94, Dunham is the father of Girls-creator Lena.

  • In the 1970s, Dunham assisted Dorothea Rockburne, who had previously assisted Robert Rauschenberg, emphasizing the importance of apprenticeship within the field.

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