HomePage Artists

b. 1957, USA

George Condo Biography

George Condo is an American artist known for his distinctive, deformed and sometimes demonic paintings that combine figuration and abstraction. Most heavily influenced by the contrasting aesthetics of old master painting, cubism and pop art, Condo also draws from art historical references as diverse as Picasso, Paul Cézanne, Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin and Willem de Kooning. He is renowned for mixing madness and beauty in his often figurative output, asserting that art's potential is not to invent, but to reconfigure, retool and innovate. The juxtapositions and strange figures in his artworks are a stand-in for the chaos of contemporary life.

Read More

The intermingling of contemporary art and music has always been an important part of Condo's practice. For two years, he studied art history simultaneously with guitar and composition at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. After leaving college, Condo moved to Boston and joined proto-synth/punk band The Girls. When Condo met Jean Michel-Basquiat after The Girls opened for the artist's band in New York City in 1979, Condo decided to move to New York to pursue a career in art. It was here that he coined the term 'artificial realism', a term that he used to describe his life-like representation of imagined things and that would come to define his practice.

While Condo moved and worked between Los Angeles, New York, Paris and Cologne during the 1980s, he was primarily associated with New York's East Village art scene, where he also held his first exhibitions. It was in Europe that he met gallerist Barbara Gladstone, who organised a significant two-gallery exhibition of his work at Pat Hearn and Barbara Gladstone Galleries in New York, helping to launch his career. In 1987, Condo's Dancing to Miles (1985–6) was included in the Whitney Biennial; the painting is a large, turbulent and analytic cubist-inspired canvas that mirrors the frenzied improvisation of jazz musicians, drawing comparisons between erratic free-form music and art.

Condo has maintained close relationships with many important artists and thinkers of his time, with their works inspiring his, and theirs in turn being influenced by him. At one point, Condo worked in Andy Warhol's factory, where he was involved in applying gold dust to the older artist's 'Myths' series. Condo was also close with Keith Haring and often painted in his studio. Later he met William S Burroughs, with whom he collaborated on a series of sculptures, paintings, writings and etchings. In Paris, he befriended French philosopher Félix Guattari, who wrote often on Condo's work. Salman Rushdie's 2001 novel Fury includes a chapter inspired by one of Condo's paintings titled The Psychoanalytic Puppeteer Losing His Mind (1994). Notably launching him into the larger world of pop culture, in 2010, Condo painted the cover art for Kanye West's album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. The image, featuring a figure holding a bottle with a nude winged female on his lap, was quickly censored by iTunes, pointing to the often provocative nature of Condo's artwork.

Borrowing compositional techniques from traditional oil painting and early-20th-century modernist works, Condo's output is most often portraiture-based, full of weird, villainous characters with jutting teeth, large ears and disjointed features. For example, the oil-on-canvas painting The Cracked Cardinal (2004) shows a figure from the torso up, wearing traditional Catholic garb with bulging eyes and bared teeth broken into irregular planes. Similarly, his 2004 painting Little Ricky depicts a nefarious-looking, bulbous-faced youth with cigarettes burning out of each ear and a green bottle balanced atop his head. In Condo's words, his characters encompass 'quite a crew: Indian chiefs, cavemen, office bosses, the nun, two-bit hustlers, low-life criminals, people with one tooth, one eye, protruding chins, enlarged facial features', and are drawn both from life and his imagination. His sculptures too are often absurd renderings of bodies; the 2012 patinated bronze The Liquor Store Attendant is a large-eared bust, with obvious finger marks denoting the artist's handiwork, while The Farmer's Wife (2005) is a bronze approximation of a woman's head with a carrot protruding from her forehead.

Condo has exhibited extensively internationally, most notably including the exhibition Mental States, a 2011 retrospective at New York's New Museum that travelled to Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam, the Hayward Gallery, London, and Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt. In 2017, The Phillips Collection in Washington, DC mounted a major survey of his work titled George Condo: The Way I Think, which focused on his drawings, sketches and 'drawing paintings'. In 2004, Condo taught a six-month course at Harvard University entitled 'Painting Memory', and in 2000, John McNaughton directed the documentary Condo Painting, which followed the artist over a course of a year while he painted a major large-scale oil painting titled Big Red.

Condo lives and works in New York City.

Elliat Albrecht | Ocula | 2018


George Condo Featured Artworks

View All (59)
The New Normal by George Condo contemporary artwork
George CondoThe New Normal, 2020Acrylic, pigment stick and metallic paint on linen
208.3 x 203.2 cm
Hauser & Wirth Contact Gallery
Two Female Figures by George Condo contemporary artwork
George CondoTwo Female Figures, 2008Oil on canvas
190.5 x 215.9 cm
Gary Tatintsian Gallery Contact Gallery
Untitled by George Condo contemporary artwork
George CondoUntitled, 1985Oil on canvas
30 x 25 cm
Simon Lee Gallery Contact Gallery
Birdbrain by George Condo contemporary artwork
George CondoBirdbrain, 2018Oil and pigment stick on linen
289.6 x 289.6 cm
Sprüth Magers Enquire
Name Composition by George Condo contemporary artwork
George CondoName Composition, 1989Oil on canvas
77.5 x 107 cm (incl frame)
Almine Rech Contact Gallery
The Investigation by George Condo contemporary artwork
George CondoThe Investigation, 2017Oil and pigment stick on linen, in three parts
254 x 609.6 cm
Almine Rech Contact Gallery
Installation view by George Condo contemporary artwork
George CondoInstallation viewOil on linen

Not for sale
Duddell's
Large Female Portrait by George Condo contemporary artwork
George CondoLarge Female Portrait, 2015Oil on linen
198.1 x 188 cm
Sprüth Magers Enquire

George Condo Current & Recent Exhibitions

View All (20)
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, To Form a More Perfect Union at Hauser & Wirth, 69th Street, New York
Open Now
12 November–31 December 2020 Group Exhibition To Form a More Perfect Union Hauser & Wirth69th Street, New York
Contemporary art exhibition, George Condo, Internal Riot at Hauser & Wirth, 22nd Street, New York
Open Now
5 November 2020–23 January 2021 George Condo Internal Riot Hauser & Wirth22nd Street, New York
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Show Me the Signs at Blum & Poe, Los Angeles
Closed
30 October–14 November 2020 Group Exhibition Show Me the Signs Blum & PoeLos Angeles

George Condo Represented By

Almine Rech contemporary art gallery in Brussels, Belgium Almine Rech Brussels, London, New York, Paris, Shanghai
Hauser & Wirth contemporary art gallery in Hong Kong Hauser & Wirth Hong Kong, Zurich, London, New York, Los Angeles, Somerset, Gstaad, St. Moritz
Simon Lee Gallery contemporary art gallery in Hong Kong Simon Lee Gallery Hong Kong, London, New York
Sprüth Magers contemporary art gallery in Berlin, Germany Sprüth Magers Berlin, London, Los Angeles
Xavier Hufkens contemporary art gallery in 6 rue St-Georges, Brussels, Belgium Xavier Hufkens Brussels

George Condo In Ocula Magazine

View All (6)
How Keith Haring Acquired the Painting Sotheby’s Priced at Just $100 Ocula News How Keith Haring Acquired the Painting Sotheby’s Priced at Just $100 New York, 8 September 2020

David Bowes distinctly remembers the day he traded paintings with the iconic New York artist.

Fade out copy.
Read More
What Sold for Over $1 Million at Art Basel Online? Ocula News What Sold for Over $1 Million at Art Basel Online? London, 23 June 2020

Prices didn't reach the heights of the physical fair in 2019, but over a dozen works exceeded the million dollar mark.

Fade out copy.
Read More
Frieze New York Viewing Room Sales Exceed Expectations Ocula News Frieze New York Viewing Room Sales Exceed Expectations New York, 8 May 2020

Galleries have reported stronger than anticipated sales at Frieze New York's Viewing Rooms, which opened to VIPs on 6 May. The online event, initiated after the physical fair was cancelled due to COVID-19, opens to the public from 8-15 May.

Fade out copy.
Read More
The most searched artists on Ocula now Ocula Photolog The most searched artists on Ocula now

A selection of this week's most searched artists on Ocula.com 

Fade out copy.
View More

George Condo In Related Press

View All (5)
Portrait of an Artist: George Condo Related Press Portrait of an Artist: George Condo 17 March 2018, Vanity Fair

As the world grapples with frightening new levels of terrorism, racism and global political unrest, George Condo says he has ironically never felt more inspired. The artist, best known for his fantastical depictions of debauchery and comedic contoured caricatures of subjects both real and imaginary, explains that the current unstable environment...

Fade out copy.
Read More
GEORGE CONDO with Joachim Pissarro Related Press GEORGE CONDO with Joachim Pissarro 2 November 2017, The Brooklyn Rail

George Condo is a New York-based artist whose career launched in the East Village in the early 1980s. During this time, he also worked in Andy Warhol's factory before moving to Los Angeles and holding his first solo exhibition in 1983. In the decades that followed, Condo has emerged as one of the world's preeminent painters and sculptors. In 2017...

Fade out copy.
Read More
George Condo goes from Kanye West's dark fantasy to painting his own demons Related Press George Condo goes from Kanye West's dark fantasy to painting his own demons 20 April 2016, The Guardian

These, along with abstract portraits and compositions like Landslide and Tumbling Forms, mark a departure from Condo’s previous work involving drawing, pastel and charcoal like those in his 2014 London shows at Skarstedt and Simon Lee galleries. Back then, he quickly realized he would have to take measures to ensure that his drawings didn’t...

Fade out copy.
Read More
German art-world feminists stake their claim in L.A. with new Sprüth Magers gallery Related Press German art-world feminists stake their claim in L.A. with new Sprüth Magers gallery 8 March 2016, The Los Angeles Times

Scrawled repeatedly on the window panes of a mid-Wilshire building, from the base to the rooftop, is artist John Baldessari’s call from his 1971 lithograph: “I will not make any more boring art.” The sentiment is also a promise of sorts from the building’s new inhabitants, gallerists Monika Sprüth and Philomene Magers....

Fade out copy.
Read More

George Condo In Video & Audio

George Condo The Artist at Work Related Video & Audio George Condo The Artist at Work 14 December 2017, Louisiana Channel

The mind of American artist George Condo has been referred to as a place where 'Picasso meets Looney Tunes.' Watch him at work in his New York-studio where he draws and paints his take on a 19 th -century painting by Manet.

Fade out copy.
View Video
George Condo Interview: The Way I Think Related Video & Audio George Condo Interview: The Way I Think 2 November 2017, Louisiana Channel

'I kind of draw like you’re walking through the forest, where you don’t really know where you’re going, and you just start from some point and randomly travel through the paper until you get to a place where you finally reach your destination.' Condo studied music theory at college, but soon realised that it was too formal and rigid for him, and...

Fade out copy.
View Video

Sign up to be notified when new artworks and exhibitions by George Condo are added to Ocula.

WeChat

Scan the QR Code via WeChat to follow Ocula's official account.

Scan to follow Ocula on WeChat.
;