NY Times - Steven Parrino Obituary
Steven Parrino, an artist and musician who imbued abstract work in several mediums with a relentless if oddly energetic punk nihilism, died early Saturday morning in a traffic accident near his home in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. He was 46.
Mr. Parrino was returning from a New Year's Eve party in Williamsburg when he apparently lost control of his motorcycle and was thrown to the pavement. According to a police report, he was pronounced dead at Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan at 2:25 a.m. on Saturday.
Mr. Parrino was born in New York City in 1958 and grew up on Long Island. He earned an associate of applied science degree from SUNY, Farmingdale, in 1979 and a bachelor of fine arts degree from Parsons in 1982.
While in art school he began making the work for which he is best known: big modernist monochrome paintings, mostly black ones, that had been violently slashed, torn or twisted off their stretchers. He called these sculptural, performance-oriented works "misshaped paintings" in response to the shaped paintings that had preoccupied abstract painters in the early 1960's.
Mr. Parrino first showed his paintings at Nature Morte, an East Village gallery, in 1984, emerging as part of a strain of postmodernism called Neo-Geo. Neo-Geo artists, who included Peter Halley, Wallace & Donahue, Haim Steinbach, John Armleder and Olivier Mosset, mixed modernist abstraction with a more cynical form of Pop Art worldliness by adding references to commerce, design, music or the movies.
In addition to painting, Mr. Parrino exhibited painted environments that involved monochrome walls pounded with sledgehammers; films of the making of these environments; sleek metal sculptures whose bent and folded elements related to his misshaped canvases; and photographs of his desktop strewn with the newspaper stories, magazine spreads and music albums that often inspired him. He also played electric guitar in several downtown bands, most recently Electrophilia, a two-person group he formed with the painter and keyboardist Jutta Koether.
He had nine solo shows in New York, the last four at the Team Gallery in Chelsea and showed widely in galleries and museum in Europe, where his work was more widely appreciated than in the United States. A retrospective of his work will open at the Musée d'Art Moderne et Contemporain in Geneva in 2006. But his influence was visible in New York in the early 90's work of Cady Noland and more recently the black-hued, rock 'n' roll-centered sculptural installations of Banks Violette.
Mr. Parrino is survived by his father, Jerry, of Hicksville, N.Y., and his brother, Robert, of Manorville, N.Y.
back to weblog