With his peculiar, signature brand of cartoonish figuration, George Condo has been celebrated both in the art world and in popular culture, with a 2011 retrospective at the New Museum and album covers for musicians including Kanye West and Danny Elfman. Condo’s work plays much earlier models of realism: Spanish still life painting, royal portraiture, genre painting, and others. The subjects of his portraits are sometimes real, sometimes imaginary, and are often placed into narrative scenes of champagne and cigar debauchery, both modern and antique. He regularly varies his mode of representation within a painting. In his 2010 painting Not Yet Titled Condo alludes to group portraits by Goya and to Manet’s Le déjeuner sur l’herbe (1863), with cavorting nudes and men primly dressed in satin smoking jackets. But the faces of all the revelers are made to look like cartoonish, lumpy, keloid grimaces with saw-like teeth and bulging eyes. His mode of social commentary dates back hundreds of years, but his subjects are very often contemporary.
Condo is the recipient of an award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Francis J. Greenberger award, and the Annual Artist’s Award from ArtsConnection, New York. He has been included in two Whitney Biennial exhibitions and numerous museum exhibitions` worldwide. Condo’s 2011 retrospective, “Mental States,” traveled from New York to Rotterdam, London, and Frankfurt over the course of the year.