13 March, 2011

The Duchess Recommends . . .

"Their Own Best Creations"

This morning's New York Times features (in "SundayStyles", bien sur) a fairly remarkable story about the social lives of fabled artists/spouses John Currin and Rachel Feinstein.  The Times fashions the Feinstein/Currins as the modern-day reincarnation of Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner, despite the fact that Ms. Feinstein has starred in numerous Marc Jacobs ad campaigns.  He is, presumably, a fan.

The Duchess won't reprint the articles contents here; just read the paper.  She will, however, comment on the article's fascination with, or characterization of, the couple's apparent adoption of old-fashioned gender roles.  Mr. Currin is "aloof and curmudgeonly" while Ms. Feinstein is "warm, energetic and open".  She "has helped my career tremendously," he says; the art critic Jerry Saltz remarks that "[s]he's paid the bigger price [for living the life glamourous], because I think Currin never took his eye off the ball, and she might have."

It's true that Mr. Currin's work reaps a mint.  (You can't pick up a Gramercy town house for nothing.)  He is the more successful artist of the pair.  It could be that he is intrinsically better, more talented (certainly he is quite good); clearly, his work (painting) is more commercial.  Or, it could be, as it often is, that Ms. Feinstein's career has suffered, or rather, not taken off as it otherwise would have were she the husband and not the wife?  The paper mentions that "on a recent Saturday morning, . . . Ms. Feinstein [was] making waffles for her husband and their three [young] children."  Not that there is anything wrong with that.  It just underscores the devotion and resources necessary to bringing up a family that so often are offered up primarily by the wife, and makes one wonder whether that energy, funneled elsewhere, would alter the trajectory of her career, of her fame, and thus, of her immortality.   

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