GEORGE CONDO (b. 1957)
Born in Concord, New Hampshire, George Condo went on to study art history and music theory at Lowell University. In the early 1980’s the artist moved to New York where he collaborated with members of Andy Warhol’s Factory, such as Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring, and leaders of the Beat Generation, including William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg. His work, primarily paintings and some sculptural pieces, is housed in permanent collections of major museums worldwide including the Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim. Condo was honored as one of the United States’ premier contemporary artists with an Academy Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1999 and the Francis J. Greenberger Award in 2005. Condo was even the subject of a documentary released in 2000, “Condo Painting” directed by John McNaughton.
George Condo is a self-proclaimed member of “Kitsch Art,” a sect of postmodernism that blurred the distinction between kitsch and high art in the 1980’s. Yet his work also seems scratch the surface of surrealism and Dadaism, allowing room for varied interpretations and conceptual connotations. His paintings often play off of uncouth clichés, distorting faces into cubistically fractured portraits that sometimes recall the aesthetics of the likes of Carroll Dunham. He is well known for his aggressive portraits of women, which dismiss any sense of female submissiveness. He frequently leaves the backgrounds undeveloped, so that his characters appear without context and extend into the viewer’s own physical world. The artist describes his artistic language as his “own natural reactions, a combination of rational and irrational.”