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Following a 2003 retrospective of his work at the Whitney Museum, the artist John Currin fell into a long dry spell, what he described in an interview with the Independent as “impotence with the brush.” Two years into the funk, he found a cartoon a friend had torn from a dirty magazine and sent to him in hopes of lifting his spirits. On the other side of the cartoon was a pornographic photo of a woman in a corset, her legs spread wide. He began a painting based on the image. Inspired, he prowled the Internet for more porn shots, and started more pieces. His sexual paintings are graphic, luscious, and fearless. In one, a man and a woman, naked, kiss open mouthed, their wet tongues fused, the woman with her right hand around the man’s rigid penis, the man with his left middle finger inside the woman; in another, two women fondle a third.