George Condo

Contemporary and Old Art Reviews

George Condo

Postby jasperjoffe » Fri Jan 28, 2011 10:17 am

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/28/arts/ ... condo.html

This show is coming to The Hayward. I've never really seen a George Condo that convinces me, that makes me think here is a really great painting. The drawing seems a bit wooden and the colours not all that brilliant, sure you'll say that's ironic, not sure myself. We will see. The hipster painters' painter is comin' to town!
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Re: George Condo

Postby CAP » Fri Jan 28, 2011 2:33 pm

George Condo - Mental States: it seems like a New Museum-scale show. It remains to be seen how much of the Hayward they lavish upon it.

But Condo’s always been an insider – blue chip Euro galleries like Bischofberger taking him up in a package along with chums like Schnabel. WTF? Well George is of that vintage. He gets labelled an East Village artist these days, from the East Village phase in the early 80s. Which was a kind of punky, DIY thing, or late and limp Neo-Ex, for Euro viewers. But Condo, me-finds, neither fish nor fowl. As a Neo-Exer he was always a bit tame and tasteful – all that Miro-esque arabesque when he was meant to be slashing and burning. Mulheimer Freiheit only gave him a frei-height. He was like a graphic designer re-doing Basquiat for lifestyle magazines, and keeping it cool, elegant – the ‘all-over’ look. And Jean-Michel was not aiming high enough, anyway.

Still, George of the Condo connected where it matters, not upfront. Later he moved on to the Picasso Meets Don Martin (legendary MAD magazine cartoonist) riffs, but again, this some time after Currin had done the full-blown MAD magazine cover as Old Master parody. Boy did that one get old quick. And George never quite had the licks to push it as far as Currin. His facture remains a comfortable inheritance from Picasso, but lacking the ambition or drive. Is this what you mean by not-quite-great, JJ? Anyway Condo seems to have stuck with it for twenty years or so now, so a public gallery survey probably overdue, but hardly a thrilling prospect.

I don’t know about the salon-style cluster hang either – I guess there’s safety in numbers and it saves space that would drown this stuff otherwise. But reading the Holland Cotter review in the NYT – and he loves this show – irreverence! It’s SO Amerikan! – I was also puzzled by the remark “His version of abstraction bears the same relationship to the traditional nonobjective thing as his portraits do to conventional portraiture. It’s different, but if it’s interesting, who cares?" Huh? So, should we not care? Or should it not be different or interesting? I know Cotter won a Pulitzer recently, but I’m not convinced it was for his writing.
Last edited by CAP on Sat Jan 29, 2011 12:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: George Condo

Postby CAP » Sat Jan 29, 2011 7:10 am

Okay so it’s not really fair to label him as late Neo-Ex, when New York painting proceeds by 1978’s New Image Painting and Bad Painting (the Marcia Tucker version – a New Museum show, naturally) to arrive at its own idle caricature and parody. And the East Village trend (of 1983-4) is mainly for ‘Bad’ painting – disrespect to genres, styles, icons, rather than half-baked allegory. George takes off from there rather than Germany. For other discussion of Condo – see PaintersNYC blog for 2006 and 2008 and for a (little out-of-date) bio of our man George, see rogallery.com.

;)
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Re: George Condo in the recent new yorker

Postby jasperjoffe » Sat Jan 29, 2011 9:09 am

Amusant. Usuaul New Yorker puff piece masquerading as serious journoism, we see how rich he is and what an amazing skill meister he is? and how is wife is very pretty, and he is sort of annoyed he is not as expensive as John Currin. Not online.
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Re: George Condo

Postby CAP » Sat Jan 29, 2011 12:25 pm

Here is a picture of George and wife Anna at the opera. There's another cute picture of him somewhere with Cecily Brown, but I can't find it just now.

Come to think of it, I'm sort of annoyed my stuff isn't as expensive as Currin's, as well....

Something I didn't see too much of in the New Museum show were Condo's recent more cartoony pieces like these.

Also, remind me to add Art Splash to the interesting links section.

No wait! Here's that one of George and Cec! (courtesy of artnet and Walt Robinson). :twisted:
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Re: George Condo

Postby jasperjoffe » Sat Jan 29, 2011 12:34 pm

The cartoony ones are nearly there but the paint's dead as usual..
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Re: George Condo

Postby CAP » Sat Jan 29, 2011 1:31 pm

The blending of cartoon with vigorous gesture is a recurring ideal in painting. I date it to Rauschenberg’s early 50s collages, but maybe further back to Schwitters, who preferred to just tear them kurtly to schwitters. Anyway Saul started out trying it, Guston ended up trying it, de Kooning glimpsed it, Lichtenstein kept trying it in odd moments. Warhol had a go at it, on behalf of Johns. Johns probably could have, but wouldn’t allow himself to. There was some black guy on an Art21 that does it as well, more recently, but his name escapes me. But they were crappy as well. Even I had a go at it in art school. But in my art school, cartoons were considered high brow, literature really. Actually, reading was considered high brow. Those were fun days, looking back.

Anyway, about the only convincing blend of gesture and cartoon I’ve seen is Joyce Pensato’s obsessively worked large drawings/paintings. George should look carefully at them – the quality of the line, the arabesques, the big round cartoony eyes – they’re all there in a really hard fought reconciliation. Because Joyce gives herself room for the painting or gesture, she really strips the cartoon figures down, spreads them out over the picture, which I think is the secret – rather than alternating between faithful rendition of favourite old cartoon character and a bit of splash and giggle under and over it, the lines and fills blow out into rugged arenas. She does not have a huge oeuvre, it's true. She is not very versatile. But the one thing she does get so right is this interface between cartoon and expressionism.

I’d rather see a Pensato show than a Condo show, really.

But one thing I neglected to mention above about Condo, is the strong affinity/influence, no so much with John Currin, but Currin’s old studio-partner, Sean Landers. When Landers is not doing his text things, he keeps having a go at the sort of kitsch/lowlife references Currin effortlessly absorbs, and the results are much more like Condo.

:twisted:
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Re: George Condo

Postby Jim » Sun Feb 06, 2011 10:33 am

I think Condo is a dreadful artist and his success is baffling to me. I liked that mad magazine guy when I was a child and I'd say if I had had a set of oil paints at the time I would have made paintings that look like Condo's stuff. It's not even bad enough to be interesting. What am I missing?

I was thinking of starting a mean-spirited thread about artists whos success is the most disproportionate to the quality of their work and George Condo would be on top. The only other person I can think of for the list so far is Neil Tate.
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Re: George Condo

Postby CAP » Sun Feb 06, 2011 11:35 am

You're clearly a bitter man Jim. Tait may be a bit over-rated, but I don't see him as being in the same class as Condo. Nor is he as well entrenched in the market. I don't think it's worth specialising in the vastly over-rateds either. It's enough to call them on it as opportunity arises. My pet hate is still Richard Prince, but even there it's as much market machination as the feeble work itself. ;)
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Re: George Condo

Postby CAP » Sat Feb 12, 2011 7:10 am

James Kalm's Report gives you a good idea of the scale involved in the silly salon-style hang at the New Museum. Individual pieces can be 6 or 7 feet square (around 2 metres) and unevenly lit into the bargain!

Frankly, it's a pretty ruthless way to summarise a career - like a page of giant thumbnails, levelling, homogenising everything. If Condo didn't look overrated before this, this hang does the job.

:roll:

And if you think my take is harsh, check out New Yorker Magazine Art Critic-Blogger, Jerry Saltz.

:o
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Re: George Condo

Postby CAP » Sat Feb 19, 2011 11:52 am

And if you think I'm harsh on Condo, check out Jerry Saltz's verdict. This courtesy of Two Coats of Paint.

Have I put Sharon Butler's blog in the ART LINKS section yet? I'm on it. :)
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Re: George Condo

Postby Jim » Sat Feb 19, 2011 3:37 pm

Ouch! In your face Condo. I might change my mind if i saw any of his paintings in the flesh (doubt it though) but I think JS is being generous when he says "Condo is an enthusiastic confident drawer who paints in high-keyed funky color with flourish."

And "People always say Condo is a “virtuoso painter.” " incredible!

Georgie sounds like the luckiest bastard in the world with his limo, wine etc. i almost admire him for that but mostly I'm just baffled.
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