Biography of Carroll Dunham
Often described as the most vulgar painter working today, Carroll Dunham would not care a jolt for such labels as he follows his own unique and highly distinctive art practice. Many critics believe Dunham provided the opportunity for American painters to explore the possibilities of merging abstraction and figuration. The father of successful actor Lena Dunham, the artist has since the 1980s trodden his own path by preferring to resist prevailing stylistic trends. He incorporates pop and graffiti into his work, investigating the relationship between abstraction and figuration.
Born in 1949 in Connecticut, USA, Carroll Dunham now divides his time between his hometown and New York. Starting out Dunham made vibrant compositions that followed the natural wood grain veneer he chose to paint on both in shape and in form. In these early works cartoonish and biomorphic figures are somehow entwined in vibrant settings often of a sexual nature. Perhaps even unconsciously transcending any form of aesthetic categories, Dunham delights in conveying demeaning and often offensive motifs. This, however, never detracts from the essential richness of his style and the psychological sophistication of his work. Indeed, Dunham is most adept at exploring complex and difficult truths through bizarrely inappropriate and superficial subjects.
Extremely popular in the United States and Europe, Carroll Dunham has exhibited extensively and has been the focus of numerous publications and essays. Dunham was given a mid-career retrospective at the New Museum in New York in 2002 as well as Millesgården, Stockholm in 2008. He has been involved in many Whitney Biennials and has participated in exhibitions at major institutions including MoMA in New York and the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. He is collected around the world including the Tate, London, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and the Museum Ludwig, Cologne.