Modern Beauty: more than flesh required

Once you have opened your eyes to a subject, things just pop up don’t they? A Little Bird’s weekly email arrived – a what’s up in London by ex-vogue glamour-pusses – lo and behold John Currin had an exhibition opening at Sadie Coles, wife and muse Rachel Feinstein included.


They are amazing aren’t they? even better in the flesh apparently, Currin juxtaposes Old Master’s glorification of women – the milky skin, enigmatic smiles, glowing renaissance silks with modern pornographic poses, body hair and leering men. The resulting is jolting: the familiar re-examined, questioned and exposed. A kaleidoscope of beauty, objectification and deification.

Nestled in this exhibition is a glorious paiting of his wife Rachel face-on, top left: madonna-esque and glowing, love shines through. She is truly ‘cult-of’ in this era: a couple of clicks on-line produce the painting of Rachel below in her fur coat and glasses.

This image has resonated in my brain for ages, it’s so quirky and questioning. I guess Marc Jacobs thought this and more; as he cast her ‘in homage’ in his adverts and commisioned her to produce a mesmeric landscape in shimmering white for his AW12 show. Proof maybe that if women want to be truly memorable in their own era and beyond – creativity, brains and  powerful personality required.

Images of exhibition at Sadie Coles are copyright of the artist John Currin, as is the painting of Rachel in fur coat, the photograph is from her ‘Interview’ magazine encounter… and never have I read a better first encounter than how her and husband John Currin met.

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