Cecily Brown

Discover how British artist Cecily Brown made her mark as a painter despite spending her formative years on the installation-obsessed ‘90s British art scene.

How do you make painting sexy? 

The first step is moving from London to NYC. Or at least that’s what Cecily Brown did back in 1994, when London was obsessed with installation art.

Cecily wanted to show that painting could be just as radical. Her canvases were erotic and electric. 

By the millennium she was posing with them for magazine spreads.

The photos were fun and intentionally provocative, like her paintings. 

Abstract painting of body parts, heads and figures in pinks, coral tones and reds

Puce Moment, 1997

abstract painting of what appears to be body parts in pinks and reds

High Society, 1998

Does most of your work have a sexual reference?

Yes it does.

Sex is everywhere in popular culture and art history, so why ignore it?

In 2013, Cecily based a series of paintings on Jimi Hendrix’s Electric Ladyland album cover. 

And in 2021, she painted a new take on the nude in the historic – and traditional – Courtauld Gallery.

In her own way, Cecily made painting sexy again – bringing rock ‘n’ roll flair to Abstract Expressionism.

Abstract painting of soft shapes in beiges and corals

The Fugitive Kind, 2000

Painting of two young lovers kissing in a forest, one of which is nude

Teenage Wildlife, 2003

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