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b. 1973, United States

Harmony Korine Biography

Harmony Korine is a Miami-based filmmaker, photographer, and painter. Although he has been exhibiting his paintings since early adulthood, he is best known for producing controversial films that embody the disillusionment of youth among a broader sense of cultural and moral decline in 1990s America. Korine's films such as Gummo (1997) and Kids (1995), which are renowned for their lack of linear structure and often feature unsettling or disturbing content, have since acquired cult status.

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Early Life and Influences

Korine was born in Bolinas, California, and spent his early years in Nashville, Tennessee before moving to New York City to live with his grandmother. He started making art as a teenager, and attended New York University for one semester before dropping out to pursue a career as pro-skateboarder. An encounter with photographer and filmmaker Larry Clark led Korine to write the screenplay for Clark's controversial movie Kids.

Describing his practice as a 'culmination of imagery,' Korine's cult films merge documentary with fiction and handheld camerawork with precise montage, drawing out the beauty out of utter grotesqueries and coaxing it into an art form. Korine revels in the unplanned and the outlandish, citing filmmakers like Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Jean-Luc Goddard, and Buster Keaton as inspirations.


Harmony Korine's paintings embrace the same sense of dichotomy as his films, attracting and repelling viewers all at once. Often forgoing traditional materials like brushes and oil paint in favour of materials such as leftover housepaint and old videotapes, Korine produces images in the vein of what he terms 'mistakism', embracing improvisational techniques, errors, and hypnotic repetition.

Large-scale paintings like Slipptard Circle (2015) from his 'fazor' series depict concentric circles in prismatic colours radiating outwards from a ten-sided star in the centre of the canvas. These works vibrate with energy, bearing the DIY mark of an artist whose directorial debut, Gummo (1997), was praised by German filmmaker Werner Herzog for including a scene with bacon taped to the bathroom wall.

Korine's solo exhibition, Young Twitchy (2019), depicts a psychogeography of Miami, Florida, where the artist lives and works. To make these works, Korine digitally paints over iPhone photographs of his surroundings and then recreates the compositions in oil paint on canvas. In large-scale oil paintings like Big Twitchy (2018), which depicts Twitchy—a crudely drawn character that first appeared in Korine's high school doodles—hovering over a nocturnally lit swimming pool, Korine fills the canvas with bright, electric colours to recreate an effect akin to the bursts of light often used in cinematic special effects.

Harmony Korine Letterman

In the 1990s, Korine appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman, playing an eccentric caricature of himself, before he was ultimately 'banned for life' from the show. It was revealed during an interview with actor James Franco to promote Korine's film Spring Breakers (2012) that Letterman had caught Korine going through Meryl Streep's purse backstage, which prompted the talk-show host to ban him from returning to the programme.

Harmony Korine Films

Korine's films include Kids (1995, written by Korine and directed by Larry Clark), Gummo (1997), Julien Donkey-Boy (1999), Ken Park (2002, written by Korine and directed by Larry Clark and Edward Lachman), Mister Lonely (2007, co-directed with Avi Korine), Trash Humpers (2009), Spring Breakers (2012), and The Beach Bum (2019).

Harmony Korine Exhibitions

Solo shows of Harmony Korine's films, photographs, and paintings include Young Twitchy, Gagosian, New York (2019); BLOCKBUSTER, Gagosian, New York (2018); Harmony Korine, Centre Pompdou, Paris (2017); Shadows and Loops, Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville, Tennessee (2016; and Pigxote, Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery, Nashville, Tennessee (2009).

Group exhibitions include Altars of Madness, Casino Luxembourg – Forum d'art contemporain, Luxembourg (2013); SONIC YOUTH etc.: SENSATIONAL FIX, Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, Germany (2009); and Beautiful Losers: Contemporary Art and Street Culture, Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati (2004), which traveled to several prodigious museums across the United States and Europe throughout 2009.

Fay Janet Jackson | Ocula | 2021

Harmony Korine
featured artworks

Twitchy Roze by Harmony Korine contemporary artwork painting
Harmony Korine Twitchy Roze, 2018 Oil on canvas
153.7 x 121.9 cm
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Hauser & Wirth contemporary art gallery in Hong Kong
Hauser & Wirth Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, New York, Paris +7

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