What You Need to Know: Showcasing as the gallery describes, a “sometimes scary, sometimes wickedly funny” selection of works on paper and canvas dating from between 1984 and 2020, Galerie von Vertes is mounting the exhibition “George Condon: Almost Human.” The show premiered at PAD London on October 10, and will be viewable online through November 16, 2023. Highlighting Condo’s self-described “artificial realism” style, the collection of works spanning reflect the artist’s preoccupation in extreme superficiality, consumerism, and the reigning hyper-individualism of American culture and society. Expertly curated by the gallery, together the works included in “Almost Human” will be a delight for both long-time followers of Condo as well as those who are new to his work.
About the Artist: American contemporary artist George Condo (b. 1957) is widely recognized for his distinctive figurative style that reflects the influence of artists such as Pablo Picasso and Willem de Kooning. Having studied art history and music theory at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, in the 1970s he met Jean-Michel Basquiat in New York while Condo was traveling with his band. At Basquiat’s suggestion, Condo relocated to the city to pursue a career in art, and he had his first solo show’s there in the early 1980s. He worked briefly at Andy Warhol’s legendary Factory, before he moved to Paris in 1985, where he lived for a decade as an expat. His first major museum retrospective was held at the New Museum, New York, in 2011, and his works have been acquired by major public collections worldwide.
Why We Like It: Condo’s body of work is unique in that it contains deep art historical references and awareness, and also engages with of-the-moment contemporary issues and ideas. Whether one of his highly gestural drawings or glossy and refined painted compositions, Condo’s work speaks to pervasive social, cultural, and political inclinations. The earlier 1980s pieces included in the present show with Galerie von Verts reflect Condo’s engagement with rising American conservatism and consumerism, and the glossy superficial aesthetic that dominated the decade. Viewers can trace Condo’s evolving cultural focus through the 1990s and 2000s, when social and political conventions shifted—but maintained inherent contradictions between what was “good” and what was “bad,” contradictions that the artist brings to the fore in his work.