George Condo is a renowned American contemporary visual artist best known for his distinct practice that fuses art historical traditions with a sensibility informed by American contemporary and Pop culture. Born in Concord, New Hampshire in 1957, Condo received his degree at the University of Massachusetts in Lowell, where he studied Art History and Music Theory. He then worked in a silkscreen shop in Boston, and joined a band with known abstract painter Mark Dagley. While playing for the band, he met Jean-Michel Basquiat, who prompted Condo to move to New York City and pursue a career as a visual artist. In New York, Condo worked in Andy Warhol’s factory applying gold dust to Warhol’s 1981 Myths series. During this time from 1981-1983, Condo’s first public exhibitions were in the East Village galleries.
Condo’s original imaginative compositions, populated by characters with proliferating limbs, hideous over-and-under bites and bulging eyes and cheeks, contain a diversity of artistic influences, ranging from European classicism to cubism, surrealism, abstract expressionism, and American contemporary culture. Condo applies various stylistic elements of Picasso, Matisse and Twombly in one picture. Calvin Tompkins remarks, Condo has “used the language of his predecessors, their methods and techniques, and applied them to subjects they would never have painted” (C. Tompkins, “Portraits of Imaginary People”, New Yorker, 2011).
Condo practices what he calls “psychological cubism”; instead of showing different facets of the same object at once, as Picasso and Braque, he paints different internal and conflicting emotions in the same face. His characters are portrayed experiencing several psychological states of hysteria, joy, insanity, sensuality and alienation simultaneously and are visible all at once. Condo’s signature fractured faces combine the grotesque and the beautiful. He re-writes the traditional rules of portraiture, leaving behind physical appearance to illuminate extremes of the human psyche.
George Condo’s work resides in international permanent collections of ] the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, The Broad Art Foundation, Santa Monica, Tate Gallery, London, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, Fonds Regional d’Art Contemporain, Ile de France, Paris, Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Oslo, and Museu d’Art Contemporani, Barcelona.