Harmony Korine was born in Bolinas, California, in 1973 and is based in Miami, Florida. Korine spent the early part of his childhood living with his family on a commune in the San Francisco Bay area. In the early 1980s, they relocated to a working-class, multicultural neighborhood just outside of Nashville, Tennessee. As a teenager, Korine would frequently accompany his father, a documentary filmmaker, on shoots chronicling alternative cultures in the South, including that of carnival and circus performers. These seminal experiences exerted substantial impact on the artist’s interest in exploring the most eccentric and marginalized parts of American society.
As a teenager, Korine moved to New York City to live with his grandmother in Queens. He studied dramatic writing at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts for one semester before dropping out to pursue a career as a skateboarder. In 1993, while skateboarding around Manhattan’s Washington Square Park, he met photographer and director Larry Clark. Impressed by a screenplay Korine shared with him, Clark asked the then 19-year-old to write a script based on his life. Three weeks later Korine had completed the script for ‘Kids’ (1995), the gritty cult-classic film depicting 24 hours in the life of a group of drug-using, sex-obsessed teens hanging out in New York City during the AIDS crisis. Simultaneously hailed as both a brilliant wake-up call and decried as a work of blatant teen exploitation, ‘Kids’ catapulted Korine’s career as a filmmaker and artist.
Korine’s next film project was also his directorial debut. A series of unrelated and often disturbing vignettes told via an unconventional mix of hand-held video, Super 8 film, and Polaroids ‘Gummo’ (1997) tells the story of two teen outcasts wandering around a tiny, tornado-ravaged town in Ohio. Inspired by neighborhoods Korine knew from his own childhood in and around Nashville, ‘Gummo’ earned accolades at both the Venice and Rotterdam Film Festivals and provided source material for several subsequent bodies of artwork, including Korine’s first installation ‘The Diary of Anne Frank, Part II’ (1997), a three-screen projection that played on a loop at Patrick Painter Gallery in Santa Monica. That same year, photographs Korine made while on set were featured in the exhibition ‘Investigations of New Photography and Film Stills from Harmony Korine’s new film ‘Gummo’’ at the Andrea Rosen Gallery in New York.
Shortly after, Korine directed his first music video for the band Sonic Youth’s song ‘Sunday,’ featuring former child star Macaulay Culkin and the actor’s then-wife Rachel Miner. His photographs from the experience were published as an artist’s book called ‘The Bad Son’ (1998), a play on Culkin’s 1993 film ‘The Good Son.’ This publication served as a companion piece to Korine’s next solo exhibition, presented in 1998 by the esteemed Tokyo gallery Taka Ishii. That same year, Mainstreet/ Doubleday published Korine’s debut novel ‘A Crack-Up at the Race Riots,’ a book of fictional set pieces capturing fragmented moments from a life observed through the demented lens of media, TV, and teen obsession, punctuated by photographs, drawings, news clippings, handwriting, poetry, diagrams, and clip art.
After the release of Korine’s third film, ‘Julien ‘Donkey-Boy’ (1999), starring Werner Herzog as the patriarch of an unhinged family, the artist left New York for Europe and began an eight-year hiatus from filmmaking. He returned to directing feature films in 2017 with ‘Mister Lonely’ (co-directed with his brother Avi Korine), about a Michael Jackson impersonator living a solitary life in Paris. Korine then wrote and directed the grotesquely comedic ‘Trash Humpers’ in 2009, followed by ‘Spring Breakers’ in 2012, and the 2019 film ‘The Beach Bum,’ starring Matthew McConaughey. Korine has also focused his lens on commercial photography and filmmaking in recent years, using his unique vision to create memorable campaigns for a wide array of well-known brands.
In 2004, Korine’s artwork was included in the exhibition ‘Beautiful Losers: Contemporary Art and Street Culture’ at the Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, which traveled to venues throughout the United States and Europe through 2009. The exhibition featured Korine’s work alongside that of other artists––among them Mark Gonzales, Barry McGree, and Chris Johanson––to whom the youth subcultures of skateboarding and graffiti were of critical significance. Most recently, Korine has since been the subject significant solo museum exhibitions, including ‘Pigxote’ at Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery, Nashville in 2009; ‘Shadows and Loops’ at the Frist Center for Visual Arts, Nashville, in 2016; and a major eponymous survey at the Centre Pompidou in Paris in 2017.
Jeffrey Deitch, 'Harmony Korine: Joven Twitchy', Miami Design District, Miami FL
Frist Center for the Visual Arts, 'Harmony Korine: Shadows and Loops', Nashville TN
Gagosian Gallery, 'Harmony Korine', New York NY
Gagosian Gallery, 'Harmony Korine: Shooters', New York NY
Patrick Painter Inc., 'The Sigil of the Cloven Hoof Marks Thy Path', Santa Monica CA (traveling exhibition)
Galerie du Jour agnès b, 'The Sigil of the Cloven Hoof Marks Thy Path', Paris, France (traveling exhibition)
Thomas Dane Limited, 'The Diary of Anne Frank Part II', London, UK
Annet Gelink Gallery, 'The Milk Chicken Review', Amsterdam, Netherlands
Galerie du Jour agnès b, 'Harmony Korine', Paris, France
Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York NY
Hannah Hoffman Gallery, 'Image Search', Los Angeles CA
Gagosian Gallery, 'Georg Baselitz, Anselm Kiefer, Harmony Korine, Robert
Rauschenberg, Julian Schnabel, Rudolf Stingel, Franz West', New York NY
CAPC Musee d’Art Contemporain, 'Presumed Innocent', Bordeaux, France
SMAK Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst, 'Harmony Korine', Ghent, Belgium
Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, 'Double Trouble: The Patchett Collection',
San Diego CA (traveled to: Institute Cultural Cabanas and the Museo De Las Artes, Guadalajara, Mexico; Auditorio de Galicia, Santiago de Compostela, Spain)
Artist's Books & Writings
Korine, Harmony, Korine, Avi, 'Mister Lonely', Zurich: Nieves, 2008
Zahm, Olivier, Korine, Harmony, 'PIGXTRAS - The Harmony Korine Purple Book' [special edition for Purple Fashion Magazine No. 10], New York: Purple Institute, 2008, ill.
1', London: Faber & Faber Film, 2002
Wool, Christopher, Korine, Harmony, 'Pass The Bitch Chicken: Christopher Wool &
Harmony Korine', Berlin: Holzwarth Publication GmbH, 2002, ill.
Arn, Jackson, 'Harmony Korine', in: Art in America, New York, June–July 2019, p. 102
Smith, Jonathan, 'Harmony Korine Just Wants to be Left Alone', in: Vice, 18 March 2019
Indrisek, Scott, 'Harmony Korine', in: Garage, 14 March 2019
Holmes, Harmony, 'Harmony Korine Is Back – and as Weird as Ever – with ‘The Beach Bum’, in: Observer, London, 11 March 2019
Martinez, Abraham, 'Harmony Korine’s New Book, Explained by Harmony Korine', in: L’Officiel, Paris, 24 August 2018
Seguret, Olivier, 'Our interview with Harmony Korine ahead of his exhibition at the Centre Pompidou', in: Vogue, 6 October 2017
Joyard, Olivier, 'The Centre Pompidou Honours Harmony Korine', in: Numéro, October 2017
Korine, Harmony, '"I Just Attack Everything, I Just Love It All": Harmony Korine on His New Films, Gagosian, and Gucci Mane', on: artnews.com, 14 September 2016
Iqbal, Nosheen, '"I want to do extreme damage": Harmony Korine’s third coming', in: The Guardian, 24 February 2016
Chen, Nick, 'Talking art, cock moulds and revolvers with Harmony Korine', in: Dazed, 10 February 2016
Larouci, Samira, 'Harmony Korine on Art and Shooting Guns', in: Amuse, 10 February 2016
Cripps, Charlotte, 'Harmony Korine: From ‘Spring Breakers’ to psychedelia', in: The Independent, 29 January 2016
Enright, Robert, Walsh, Meeka, 'dancing with one another', in: Border Crossings Magazine, Winnipeg, 1 March 2015
Zahm, Olivier, 'Harmony Korine', in: Purple Fashion Magazine, 1 March 2015
Indrisek, Scott, 'Harmony Korine Brings His Freak-Out Zone', in: Artinfo, 19 May 2015
Halle, Howard, 'Spring Breakers director Harmony Korine has a show at the Gagosian Gallery', in: Time Out, New York, 1 May 2014
Zakarin, Jordan, 'Spring Breakers’ Director Harmony Korine: 10 Things to Know', in: The Hollywood Reporter, 26 Mar 2013
Pryor, John-Paul, 'Harmony Korine & Rita Ackermann - Shadow Fux', on: Dazed Digital, 6 January 2011
Clarke, Indigo, 'Shadow Fux The collaboration of Rita Ackermann and Harmony Korine', in: W Magazine, November 2010
Taubin, Amy, 'Harmony Korine in Conversation with Amy Taubin', in: The Brooklyn Rail, New York, 16 July 2008