Skip to content


1958-2005; Lived and worked in New York City.
Bachelor of fine arts, Parsons School of Design, New York, 1982.

While in art school, Steven Parrino began making the work for which he is best known: large modernist monochrome paintings, primarily in black and silver, that he violently slashed, tore, or twisted off of 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 1960s.

Parrino first showed his paintings at Nature Morte in New York in 1984, emerging as part of a strain of postmodernism called 'Neo-Geo.' Neo-Geo artists, who included Peter Halley, Haim Steinbach, John Armleder and Olivier Mosset, mixed modernist abstraction with a more cynical form of Pop Art by adding references to commerce, design, music, or movies.

In addition to painting, Parrino exhibited painted environments that involved monochrome sheetrock panels 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 bands, including Electrophilia, a two-person group he formed with artist Jutta Koether.