There’s not much to them, really. Harmony Korine’s so called Adult Yachting paintings, that is. They are what they are and don’t invite the psychological mining that people tend to apply to artworks. They’re all seemingly harmless, scenic seascapes with unsuspecting boats traversing the picture plane. They’re the kinds of paintings that you would find a hobbyist on a boardwalk spending their day on, making sure that the passersby take note in one way or another. You might buy one to hang it on a timeshare living room’s beige wall—something noninvasive that indicates place (South Florida) and time (leisure time), even on a subconscious level.
And that’s the irony of these paintings—they look innocent until they don’t. In each of the works, the boat pictured proudly displays its given name. The monikers Star Whores, Doggie Style Day Afternoon, Rambone and Schindler’s Fist attempt to take center stage in each of the images as a nod to both Korine’s filmmaking and his shock jock tendencies.
Korine says that the works are all inspired by his his then-new surroundings in Miami at the time he painted them and his tenure as a boat captain in Pensacola in the late 1980s. The owners of these boats take themselves almost too seriously, and ascribing witty names to them flips that mentality on its head. Sometimes the boats down in Miami are purposely provocative, owned by someone who wants to send a message. These paintings play on and enter a dialog with that.
In the end, they’re just funny. People understand them and also think that they’re funny. That’s all.