George Condo - Photo of the artist in his new home, London, 2014 - Photo via Sarah Lee, news privacy applied

George Condo

United States 1957

Painting

George Condo
George Condo
Male
United States
1957
October 12, 2016
Andreja Velimirović is a passionate content writer with a knack for art and old movies. Majoring in art history, he is an expert on avant-garde modern movements and medieval church fresco decorations. Feel free to contact him via his Linkedin profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/andreja-velimirovi%C4%87-74068a68/

Regularly presenting us with a vast painted world populated with a cast of characters with deformed facial and bodily features, George Condo is a contemporary American artist best known for his signature brand of figuration which emphasizes fractured faces and aggressive imagery. In a career spanning more than three decades now, Condo’s highly distinctive body of work has consistently drawn upon art historical traditions and genres, especially the concept of portraits. Simultaneously, he was also mirroring contemporary social norms and referencing American culture of his time. By doing so, George was literally able to introduce Picasso-like techniques[1] to modern magazines, comics and cartoons. The results are characters with protruded eyes, bulbous cheeks and propagated limbs, all painted in a Cubistic-like method and located in a Pop new environment.

Unlike Kanye West and other twitter people, Condo always led a life of privacy
George Condo – Ahmedthe Tailor, 2013 – Image via huffingtonpost.com

Choosing Art Over Music

George Condo studied two subjects at the University of Massachusetts in Lowell, simultaneously focusing on Art History and Music Theory. During that time, he was studying guitar and composition while also dreaming of pursuing a career in painting. After two years spent in Lowell, Condo moved to Boston where he worked in a silkscreen shop – an experience that served him very well in future. He also joined a punk music band called The Girls, made up of young musicians with avant-garde views on both the music and the world. After a few small successes achieved with the band, George moved to the Ludlow Street in New York City, determined to get himself back on the course of becoming a full-time painter. He eventually emerged in the East Village art scene, noted for his characteristic concepts that were unlike anything else currently available. In this early stage of his career, Condo experimented with the concept he called Artificial Realism – the realistic representation of that which is artificial. This was supposed to describe his hybridization of traditional Old Master painting techniques with a sensibility of American Pop art. As he was still establishing his reputation and style, George continued to work in the silkscreen production studio, often collaborating with the legendary Andy Warhol. After he succeeded to hit it big, Condo moved to Cologne, Germany, where he met and worked with several new local artists from the famous Mulheimer Freiheit group[2]. This will eventually prove to be one of the pivotal periods of his career as Condo learned a lot about the concepts he used in his more mature pieces.

What made George Condo famous is the way he was able to combine Cubistic painting techniques and traditional portrait concepts with contemporary Pop-like themes

All paintings have a home as people of the west set the terms of their life
George Condo – Condo’s pieces in Entrance to the Void, LA – Image via supertouchart.com

Introducing Picasso to Pop Art

Between the years of 1985 and 1995, Condo lived and worked mostly in hotel rooms and rented studios between the cities of Paris and New York. In the meantime, he continued to exhibit extensively both in the United States and Europe. By this time, George was already famous for his unique and exciting portraits made up of the bizarre cast of archetypal characters that inhabit them. All of his subjects were classically posed and dramatically lit, as if they were compositionally stolen right from some catalog of traditional art. However, Condo also used such concepts in a way to combine them with the new contemporary cultures of the modern world, blending the most widely renowned methods in art history with comic books, Playboy magazine issues and Saturday morning cartoons[3]. In one of the most famous interpretations of George’s aesthetics, Calvin Tomkins stated the following: Instead of borrowing images or styles, Condo used the language of his predecessors, their methods and techniques, and applied them to subjects they would never have painted. Another interesting observation was said by Laura Hoptman, the curator in the Department of Painting and sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art. She said that George: opened the door for artists to use the history of painting in a way that was not appropriation. Such fantastic achievements naturally led George to many recognitions. In the year of 2000, Condo was the subject of the documentary film Condo Painting, directed by John McNaughton. A year before the film, the artist was handed an Academy Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, which served as an overture for the Francis J. Greenburger Award George received in 2005. He also held numerous courses and lectures in his time, whilst his art was analyzed in various monographs. This made him into one of the most popular contemporary painters in the world, whilst his paintings and works were well attended and close followed wherever the gallery displaying them was – anywhere between New York and Paris. This popularity never truly stopped as Condo is prevalent in 2016 as ever. It should also be noted that Condo is well-known for book and album cover art – he provided the cover art for Jack Kerouac’s Book of Sketches and designed the album for Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.

What impresses us the most about Condo’s art is the daring nature of combining two very different spheres, out of which one is maybe the most iconic moment in modern art history


In 2013, New York held the news and set the terms for all the paintings
George Condo – Alexandra Hicks – Image via artmaplondon.com

George Condo and His Unique Blend

Ultimately, what tends to strike the viewers the most when observing Condo’s pieces is not their aesthetics – which are amazing, make no mistake – but the sheer daring nature they possess. Not many artists would have the courage and confidence to adopt the techniques of some of the greatest avant-garde masters of painting and adapt them to their own creative needs. Although George’s attempts to combine two very different worlds may seem borderline insulting to some, blending such traditional imagery and techniques with contemporary themes actually helps us observe and analyze the development of avant-garde art. It is in this fact that the greatest value of Condo’s work lies as it provides us with a natural outcome to the arts of Pablo Picasso, Diego Velázquez, Henri Matisse and Cy Twombly, allowing us to witness first hand the continuity of modern art history and new takes on the same courses within it.

This artist is represented by Rosenbaum Contemporary Boca Raton Gallery, Vince Fine Arts Miami, Massimo De Carlo Milan, Massimo De Carlo London, Me Collectors Room Berlin, and Rosenbaum Contemporary Bal Harbour Gallery.

George Condo lives and works in New York City, US.

References:

  1. Cotter, H., George Condo: Mental States, The New York Times, 2011
  2. Lindemann, A., Outwit, Outpaint, Outlast: George Condo and the Back-Burnered 1980s Art Stars, The Observer, 2012
  3. Chang, C., Condo Painting, Frieze Magazine, 2000

Featured image: George Condo – Photo of the artist in London, 2014 – Image via Sarah Lee
All images used for illustrative purposes only.

Upcoming Events

Sam Gilliam - Maybe, 1971 (Detail)
Sep 25th, 2018 - Sep 25th, 2018

Contemporary Curated

Sotheby's New York, New York, New York, United States, 1334 York Ave, New York, NY 10021, USA

Please select an option to add Contemporary Curated into your calendar

Pedro De Oraa - Untitled From The Series Abstractivos, 2016 (Detail)
Sep 26th, 2018 - Sep 26th, 2018

New Now

Phillips, De Pury & Luxembourg New York, New York, New York, United States, 450 Park Ave, New York, NY 10022, USA

Please select an option to add New Now into your calendar

Yayoi Kusama - Infinity Flower Petals (Triptych), 1992 (Detail)
Sep 30th, 2018 - Sep 30th, 2018

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

Sotheby's Hong Kong, Hong Kong, 5/F, One Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Admiralty Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Please select an option to add Contemporary Art Evening Sale into your calendar

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2017Cher(e)s Ami(e)s : Hommage aux donateurs des collections contemporainesCentre Pompidou - Musée National d'Art Moderne, ParisGroup
2016Passion. Fan-Verhalten und KunstStadtgalerie Kiel, KielGroup
2016George Condo - Entrance To The VoidSprüth Magers Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CASolo
2016Comic InspirationsAdam Baumgold Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2016Les Fleurs Du MalNahmad Contemporary, New York City, NYGroup
2015George Condo - Works on PaperXavier Hufkens, BrusselsSolo
2015PassionKunstvilla im KunstKulturQuartier Nürnberg, NurembergGroup
2015Kaws La Nave, Las Salinas - Ibiza, SpainLio Malca, New York City, NYGroup
2014Ink DrawingsSkarstedt Gallery, London, United KingdomSolo
2014HeadspaceSimon Lee Gallery, London, United KingdomSolo
2013Paintings & SculptureSprüth Magers, Berlin, Germany Solo
2013DSM-VThe Future Moynihan Station, New YorkGroup
2012George Condo,  Mental StatesSchirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt, GermanySolo
2012BeuningenSchirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt, GermanySolo
2012Looking back for the futureKunsthalle, Zurich, SwitzerlandGroup
2012American ExuberanceRubbel Family Collection, Contemporary Arts Foundation, Miami, FloridaGroup
2012GoldÖsterreichische Galerie Belvedere, Vienna, AustriaGroup
2011Drawing PaintingsSkarstedt Gallery, New YorkSolo
2011George Condo, Mental StatesNew Museum, New York (catalogue). Traveled to Museum Boijmans van Solo
2011BeuningenRotterdam, The NetherlandsSolo
2011BeuningenHayward Gallery, London, United KingdomSolo
2011DrawingsSprüth Magers, London, United KingdomSolo
2011George Condo: a collection of etchingsJack Rutberg Fine Arts, Los Angeles, CaliforniaSolo
2011Sentimental EducationGavlak Gallery, Palm Beach, FloridaGroup
2011How Soon NowRubbell Family Collection, Miami, FloridaGroup
2010The Lost CivilizationGalerie Andrea Caratsch, Zurich, SwitzerlandSolo
2010Cartoon AbstractionsGalerie Jérome de Noirmont, Paris, FranceSolo
2010Family PortraitsSprüth Magers, Berlin, GermanySolo
2010Whitney BiennialWhitney Museum of American Art, New YorkGroup
2009Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Art But Were Afraid to AskMassimo De Carlo, Milan, ItalySolo
2009George CondoXavier Hufkens, Brussels, BelgiumSolo
2009La Civilisation PerdueMusée Maillol, Paris, FranceSolo
2008George Condo: DrawingsSprüth Magers, Berlin, GermanySolo
2008George CondoGary Tatintsian Gallery, Inc., Moscow, RussiaSolo
2008Christ: The Subjective Nature of Objective RepresentationLuhring Augustine, New YorkSolo
2008Against All Odds: Keith Haring in the Rubell Family CollectionPalm Springs Art Museum, Palm Springs, CaliforniaGroup
2008It’s Not Over YetInvisible-Exports , New YorkGroup
2008God & Goods: Spirituality and Mass ConfusionVilla Manin Centre for Contemporary Art, Passariano – Codroipo, ItalyGroup
2008How to Cook a Wolf: Part OneDinter Fine Art, New YorkGroup
2008The Luxury of LoveVanina Holasek, New YorkGroup
2008Summer ExhibitionSkarstedt Gallery, New YorkGroup
2008Wall Rockets ,The Flag Art Foundation, New YorkGroup
2007George CondoSimon Lee, London, Great BritainSolo
2007George CondoGalerie Andrea Caratsch, Zurich, SwitzerlandSolo
2007George Condo: Paintings from the Last Ten YearsNicholas Robinson Gallery, New YorkSolo
2007The Beholder’s EyeSalmagundi Club of New York, New YorkGroup
2007Create your own Museum: Highlights of a Private CollectionGary Tatintsian Gallery, Inc., Moscow, RussiaGroup
2007Negotiating Reality: Recent Works from the Logan CollectionUniversity of Denver Victoria H. Myhren Gallery, Denver, ColoradoGroup
2007Meet the ArtistsDeitch Projects, New YorkGroup
2007Still Life and Kicking: A project with Vogue, curated by Dodie KazanjianPaula Cooper Gallery, New YorkGroup
2006Existential PortraitsXavier Hufkens, Brussels, BelgiumSolo
2006Existential PortraitsLuhring Augustine, New YorkSolo
2006Colo AsideLuhring Augustine, New YorkGroup
2006Infinite Painting. Contemporary Painting and Global RealismVilla Manin Centro d’Arte Contemporanea, Codroipo, ItalyGroup
2006RedefinedThe Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.Group
2005George Condo: SculpturesSkarstedt Fine Art, New YorkSolo
2005Disassembled ObjectsPower House Memphis, TenneseeSolo
2005One Hundred Women . Retrospective Museum of Modern Art, Salzburg, GermanySolo
2005Self PortraitsSkarstedt Fine Art, New YorkGroup
200548th Corcoran Bienniale. Closer to HomeCurated by Stacey Schmidt, Washington DCGroup
2004George Condo. Paintings From the EightiesBiggs Robinson, New YorkSolo
2004Religious PaintingsSprüth Magers Lee Gallery, London, United Kingdom Solo
2004George CondoEleni Koroneou Gallery, Athens, GreeceSolo
2004George Condo. Memories of Manet and VelazquezGalerie Jerome de Noirmont, Paris, FranceSolo
2004George CondoMonika Sprüth Philomene Magers, Cologne, GermanySolo
2004Malerei 7Monika Sprüth Philomene Magers, Cologne, GermanyGroup
2003George Condo: Sculpture. Expanded Portraits, Extended Forms and Jazz SculpturesGalerie Bruno Bischofberger, Zurich, SwitzerlandSolo
2003George Condo , The Carpenter Center for the Visual ArtsCambridge, MassachusettsSolo
2003Splat Boom Pow! The Influence of Cartoons in Contemporary ArtMassachusetts; Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, OhioGroup
2003Not AfraidRubell Familly Collection, Miami, FloridaGroup
2002George CondoLuhring Augustine, New YorkSolo
2002George Condo , Schlosspark WendlinghausenLandscape Garden Ost Westfalenlippe, Westfalen, GermanySolo
2002Ahead of the 21st Century , The Pisces Collection Donaueschingen, SwitzerlandGroup
2001Physiological AbstractionGalerie Jérôme de Noirmont, Paris, FranceSolo
2001George CondoMonika Sprüth Philomene Magers, Munich, GermanySolo
2000Portraits11 Duke Street, London, United KingdomSolo
1999George Condo. Silkscreen PaintingsPaceWildenstein, Los Angeles, CaliforniaSolo
1999George Condo. New PaintingsGalerie Bruno Bischofberger, Zurich, SwitzerlandSolo
1998Pages de Garde/End PapersPaceWildenstein, New YorkSolo
1998Collage PaintingsPaceWildenstein , 142 Greene Street, New YorkSolo
1997Collage AbstractionsPaceWildenstein, Los Angeles, CaliforniaSolo
1996Drawings 1976-1996PaceWildenstein, Los Angeles, CaliforniaSolo
1995Palais des Congrès de ParisParis, FranceSolo
1995Paintings and DrawingsPaceWildenstein, New YorkSolo
1994Recent PaintingsPaceWildenstein, 142 Greene Street, New YorkSolo
1993SculpturenGalerie Bruno Bischofberger, Zurich, SwitzerlandSolo
1992Obra 1990-1992Galería Soledad Lorenzo, Madrid, SpainSolo
1992GravatsGaleria Joan Prats, Barcelona, SpainSolo
1991Recent PaintingsThe Pace Gallery, New YorkSolo
1991The 1980’s: Selections from the Permanent CollectionWhitney Museum of American Art, New YorkGroup
1991Myth and Magic in the Americas: The Eighties ,Museo de Arte Contemporanoe de Monterrey, Monterrey, MexicoGroup
1990Peintures récentes 1989-90Galerie Daniel Templon, Paris, FranceSolo
1990Paintings, Drawings, PrintsMichael Maloney Contemporary Art, Inc., Santa Monica, CaliforniaSolo
1990Academy-Institute Invitational Exhibition of Painting & SculptureAmerican Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, New YorkGroup
1990Pharmakon ’90Nippon Convention Center, Makuhari Messe, International Exhibition Halle, Makuhari, JapanGroup
1990Drawings of the Eighties: Part IIThe Museum of Modern Art, New YorkGroup
19891979-1989 American, Italian, Mexican Art from the Collection of Francesco Pellizzi ,Hofstra Museum, Hempstead, New YorkGroup
1989Exposition InauguraleFondation Daniel Templon, Musée Temporaire, Frejus, FranceGroup
1989Painting Beyond the Death Of PaintingKoznetzky Most Exhibition Hall, Moscow, RussiaGroup
1988Works on PaperVrej Baghoomian Inc., New YorkSolo
1988Recent DrawingsWhitney Museum of American Art, New YorkGroup
1987Gemälde/Paintings 1984-1987Kunstverein, Munich, GermanySolo
1987Biennial ExhibitionWhitney Museum of American Art, New YorkGroup
1986DrawingsKnight Gallery, Charlotte, North CarolinaGroup
1985Major new worksGalerie Bruno Bischofberger, Zurich, SwitzerlandSolo
1984BilderZeichnungen, Monika Sprüth Galerie, Cologne, GermanySolo
1984East Village PaintersArtists Space, New YorkGroup
1983Paintings and Works on Paper ,Ulrike Kantor Gallery, Los Angeles, CaliforniaSolo
1983Terminal ShowArtists Library, Brooklyn, New YorkGroup