“There’s no goal to being an artist—you keep doing it and then, in theory, one dies,” says Carroll Dunham, who Allan Schwartzman describes as one of the greatest painters of the past 40 years.
Art is a “kind of lustful driving forwards” for Dunham, who has moved from abstraction to figuration over the course of his varied career. Works from his “Wrestlers” series are currently on show at Gladstone Gallery in New York (until 16 June). “I wanted to try to find a male equivalent to the women that I had been drawing and painting, which I had thought of as being rather primeval in some way,” Dunham says. “They are naked white guys beating the crap out of each other. I’m not claiming any special relevance or meaning for these things. They just allow me to keep making paintings.”
Dunham talks to Schwartzman and host Charlotte Burns about how his life and work—and the broader art community—have changed since moving from the bustle of New York, where he spent his early career, to the solitude of rural Connecticut.
Known for his incisive writing about other artists’ work, Dunham discusses how this exercise has helped his practice. The essays included in the recently published Into Words: The Selected Writings of Carroll Dunham (2017) represented “a diagram of my issues with myself and things I was grappling with in my own work”, he says.
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