A portraitist of mythical people; the author of the original artistic method of “Artificial Realism;” and the creator of an inimitable style, in which irony and the grotesque are seamlessly fused with one another with the mastery of a draftsman and the genius of a colorist. These can all be aptly used to describe American artist George Condo, who is one of the most significant figurative artists of the modern era.
Practically before our eyes, George Condo was elevated to the rank of General in the hierarchy of contemporary art. His works are the pride of the most prestigious museums and private collections in the world, including the MoMA, NY, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, NY, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, NY.
Among his admirers are Sir Ringo Starr, Leonardo DiCaprio, Princess Caroline of Monaco, jewelry magnate Laurence Graff, Dakis Joannou, Eli Broad, and many other renowned cultural and business figures.
George Condo was born in 1957. It must be noted that even while studying art history at a university in Massachusetts, it was obvious that painting was Condo’s calling.
The first public exhibitions of his work took place in New York City at various East Village galleries from 1981 to 1983. During this period he worked in Warhol’s factory, primarily in the silkscreen production studio applying diamond dust to Warhol’s Myths series.
In 1983, Condo moved to Germany in order to study traditional European painting and become acquainted with contemporary European artists.
Already close friends with Basquiat by this time, Condo met Keith Haring back in New York and the two remained lifelong friends until Haring’s death from AIDS in 1990. Several of Condo’s most significant works from this period which was included in the 1987 Whitney Biennial, were painted in Haring’s East Village studio.
In 1999, Condo received the Academy Award in Art from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In the following year, a documentary directed by John McNaughton entitled “Condo Painting” was released. Within that same year, Condo was invited to be a professor at several Universities.
One of the distinct characteristics of Condo’s art is that it is diverse and multifaceted. Within the painterly theater that he creates, one can often discover hidden references to the most recent political and corporate scandals. His personages consist of mythical heroes, who are accompanied by their servants and housemaids that are portrayed in a cubist style, along with demonic girlfriends and witches, insane saints and heavily boozed supermen. Time possess a nonlinear characteristic in his paintings. For example, cavemen effortlessly transform into heroes of modern times and, conversely, Roman legionnaires and prehistoric personages coexist with our contemporaries on one canvas.
Though Condo forbids direct quotation, it is still possible to trace a distinct line through his works, which indicates his devotion and intimate knowledge of the paintings of the old masters, artists from the Paris school of art, as well as Italian painting from the nineteen twenties and thirties. History will surely place everything in order. George Condo, however, is that rare occurrence, in which everything is already clear. It will not be called into question that for our generation George Condo’s creative work is no less contemporary and interesting than was the work of Pablo Picasso for his contemporaries and followers.