Carroll Dunham

Born 1949.
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Carroll Dunham Biography

Carroll Dunham is a contemporary American painter. Mixing elements of Pop, Abstract Expressionism, Surrealism and Neo-Expressionism, Dunham depicts organic and human forms, sometimes employing a cartoonish, playful style. Over the course of his career, Dunham has moved from abstraction to figuration.

Carroll Dunham was born in 1949 in New Haven, Connecticut; he grew up in Old Lyme, a region known for attracting Abstract Expressionist artists in the early 20th century. In 1972, Dunham graduated from Trinity College in Connecticut with a BA. Following graduation, Dunham moved to New York City and began working as an assistant for artist Dorothea Rockburne. In the 1980s, Dunham first exhibited his work with Baskerville + Watson. During this period, Dunham experimented with painting directly on wood veneer; his vibrant compositions melded with the natural grain of the wood to create geometric, organic forms. In 1983, Dunham’s work was reviewed for the first time in Artforum:

“A KNOT, A NIPPLE, an eye—what are these gnarls embedded in the glandular ooze flowing out of and down a plane of wood in one of Carroll Dunham’s recent paintings? They certainly started out as knots of pine; but here, as only part of the thin veneer that covers the sheet of plywood underneath, the knots become representations of themselves and together with the grain transform in a self-hallucination which initially suggests a multiple organ transplant performed by a surgeon with a degree in Surrealism.”

Today, Dunham lives and works in New York and Connecticut. His work has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions at international institutions including Museum Ludwig, Cologne; Millesgården, Stockholm; and Drammens Museum, Drammen, Norway. A mid-career retrospective was held at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York. Dunham has also been included in notable group exhibitions including multiple Whitney Biennials and SITE Santa Fe; and at institutions including Musée d’art moderne et contemporain, Geneva; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; MuseuPicasso, Barcelona; and The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston.

Works by Dunham are held in numerous esteemed public collections, including the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago; Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Oslo; Brooklyn Museum, New York; Museum Ludwig, Cologne; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia; Tate Gallery, London; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and Whitney Museum of Art, New York.

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