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Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Art (But Were Afraid to Ask)

George Condo

18.09.2009 | 31.10.2009
Massimo De Carlo, Milano
Massimo De Carlo Gallery inaugurates the personal exhibition of George Condo “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Art (But Were Afraid to Ask)”: a wide, museum-like exhibition that occupies the more than 1000 square meters that compose the gallery. The artist was – and still is – an example and an inspiration for the new generation of artists. He was the first to suggest again, in a moment in which the key words were vanguard and experimentation, the techniques and the legacy of the masters of Modern paintings, freely inspiring himself in the greatest movements and authors of the European tradition. George Condo presents an “artificial realism”: his world is inhabited by clowns, men and women, priests, cardinals, elegant ladies and famous characters (in 2006 the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II caused a sensation when it was exhibited at the Tate Modern in London). However, they are not real: the faces are deformed, the smiles coarse and distorted, the faces empty, the perspectives overturned, and the situations are tragicomic and surreal. The first room is dedicated to sculpture: nine works, most of them faces that look towards the entrance, directly facing the viewer and pushing him directly into the visionary world of the artist. A white, light coat almost gives us the impression of something old, renewed, of objects that come back to light after a long period of seclusion. On the next room, big paintings depict some Looney Tunes’ characters. The canvases show Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Sylvester and Wile E. Coyote, that present themselves as if they were pages from an old painting album belonging to a child: the background is white and neutral, dark and noticeable contours, scribbles and smears. On the top floor there are thirteen canvases worked with different techniques (acrylic, oil, charcoal, pastel...). Here some real characters, with their faces deformed, are depicted in intimate situations, as if they were taken by surprise by the viewer: couples that embrace each other; dressed men surrounded by naked women; groups of naked women that play erotically, winking and directly facing, without any prudery, almost shamelessly, that who surprised them. Born in 1957 in Concord, New Hampshire (USA), George Condo moves to New York in 1981, contacting with the artistic world of the city and becoming friends with Basquiat and Keith Haring. He had his first solo show in 1983 and one year later he has two personal exhibitions in Europe (Cologne and Tenerife) and two in New York. In a short amount of time his works are exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art of New York, the MoMA, the Guggenheim of New York, the Tate Modern of London, the Contemporary Arts Museum of Houston and the Contemporary Art Museum of Barcelona. In 1999 he is awarded by the American Academy of Arts and Letters and in 2000 John McNaughton made a documentary out of his life (Condo Painting). In 2003 he holds a semester course at the University of Harvard. He just finished two shows in Paris and Brussels.

The Artist

George Condo
Concord, New Hampshire, US, 1957. Lives and works in New York.