John Currin (b. 1962)
Thanksgiving, 2003
oil on canvas
Tate National Collection of British Art

No other work of Thanksgiving art looks like John Currin’s interpretation of Thanksgiving.  Instead of a family, there is one long-limbed woman (his wife, muse, and fellow artist, Rachel Feinstein) in three poses, depicted at three different stages of her life.  Instead of a steaming, cooked turkey, there is a cold body of a dead bird, sitting in a pool of blood.  Currin’s luminous figures draw on Renaissance painting and his erotic undertones are inspired by classic Playboy pin-ups, but his brand of wit is completely contemporary.