"Why is God making me paint her this way?"
June 22, 2010 11:47 AM   Subscribe

Re-introducing the work of George Condo. "George Condo is a man possessed by visions. A successful Soho artist, he paints what he sees: the "antipodal beings" that dominate his imagination ... They look like nothing so much as muppets or troll dolls as painted by Walter Keane." Featured recently at the Whitney Museum, Condo's work is finding a new audience as the cover art for Kanye West's latest single, "Power." posted by grabbingsand (4 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Gary Mairs, the guy writing for Culture Vulture (second link), comes off as kind of an idiot here. If he doesn't like Condo or his work, fine, but they look nothing like Keane's work; not all big-eyed art is alike.
posted by Halloween Jack at 12:44 PM on June 22, 2010

"antipodal beings"

So they're from Australia?
posted by StickyCarpet at 1:08 PM on June 22, 2010

George was in The Girls (c. 1978, Boston) long before becoming an art star. First things first.
posted by R. Mutt at 3:55 PM on June 22, 2010

Look, this is a good post and I wanted to say so--even though I am not enamored of George Condo's current work--because I also get sick of slogging through tripe-y trivia on the vaunted all-seeing, all-knowing, all-correct, all-wordy MeFi. Having said that, I'll move on to the skewer portion of this comment.

But first, we reminisce...

Perhaps sadly, my outlook on art happens to be strongly formed by work that was done in the 80's. I spent a lot of time in the East Village at that time, so I know of what I speak. I have those happy foggy memories of still seeing Keith Haring chalk work in the NYC subways. Jean-Michel Basquait was only a recent acquaintance of Mr. Warhol, and was not Dead. Julian Schanabel was barely done being a waiter in Spain and for at least a little while, Jeff Koons had not shown up with his annoying basketballs in fish tanks. Mary Boone had not gone to SoHo. Madonna was a local chick that wore denim. Yellow power ties on Wall Street. George Condo lived there in the East Village. "1984 East Village Painters." Martin Wong was a flameout god at Semaphore East. Peter Halley was an unknown at International With Monument. Sue Coe was top drawer at P.P.O.W. Will Mentor at Wolff made me wanna quit whatever I was doing. Yeah, gauzy.

So... George Condo was one of those guys. His work was as confused and raw and vital as anyone else, and maybe a little smarter. In looking at this work, I'd have to say: a lot smarter. Whadda ya say--plenty of those people from back then are nobody, marginalized, Dead, or went on to Warholized glitz (uh, Kostabi). But, like, whatever.

So this work. I guess it's great if you like it. To me, if you knew the roots, the place he came from, started from... well, I see avant Toy Story, I see some illustration, I see control under what passes for the raw. The East Village was a very street place--Blondie videos featured spray painters--uh, taggers, or apply the current phrase. The street was in all of those people, the alleys, the cheap apartments, hole in the wall galleries, subways, cramped degraded spaces, cheap materials. So I'm a little handicapped by the history here, because that is not what I see in this work. Not that he hasn't survived, explored, developed, and maybe even grown. But, sorry--you hold out hope for those people. Frankly, I'm still kind of meditating on Dennis Hopper being gone--there was a guy that stayed pretty raw, never stayed near the top with "intelligent" work because he simply worked and worked. But I ain't no expert. Maybe there is more here than meets the eye. But I want more right off the bat, like I saw then. Frankly, to me, Julian Schnabel has still got it--he kept it. Somehow, even though probably fab wealthy. Here. Not doing it for me.

But again, thanks for posting, I was still happy to think and consider and debate and go roller coaster.
posted by wallstreet1929 at 6:34 PM on June 23, 2010

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