George Condo is recognised as being one of America’s most influential living artists. In a career spanning more than three decades, Condo’s highly original and distinctive body of work has consistently drawn upon art historical traditions and genres, the portrait particularly, in order to hold a mirror up to contemporary social mores.
Condo first started exhibiting his hybrid style paintings in the 1980s. His work daringly fused the sensibilities of European Old Master painting with references to popular American culture, including Playboy magazine, comics and cartoons. Condo coined the term ‘Artificial Realism’, to describe his approach or, in other words, ‘the realistic representation of that which is artificial’. Between 1985 and 1995, Condo worked in both Paris and New York, and spent a considerable amount of time in the French capital where he met writer William S. Burroughs (with whom he has collaborated) and the philosopher Felix Guattari, who has written extensively on his work. Throughout his career, Condo has never deviated from his personal vision. His unique pictorial inventions, ‘imaginary portraits’ and often grotesque but classically executed paintings continue to surprise and, at times, horrify.
George Condo (b. 1957, Concord, NH) lives and works in New York. His works feature in important public collections, including The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Astrup Fearnley Museet, Oslo; and the Fonds National d’Art Contemporain, Paris.
essay by Dr. Thomas Kellein, published by Xavier Hufkens, 2009, 24 pages, English