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George Condo: Mental States
25 June – 25 September 2011
This summer Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is exhibiting more than seventy paintings and sculptures by George Condo (1957). The majority of the American painter’s works are in private collections and have never previously been shown on this scale in Europe. Condo has recently received widespread media attention for his excursions into popular culture.
In the 1980s George Condo ranked with Jean-Michel Basquiat, Julian Schnabel and Keith Haring among the heroes of New York’s art scene. Condo’s extraordinary technical skills and original subject matter have been an inspiration for younger painters for three decades. His absurd, humoristic and occasionally shocking imagery has also attracted attention from his contemporaries in the fashion and music industries. He recently designed the controversial cover of rapper Kanye West’s latest album ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’. On the cover West is depicted naked in the company of a demonic female phoenix.
Monsters on the catwalk
George Condo is a contemporary artist who does not shy away from cross-fertilisation between art, fashion and street culture. In 2010 he designed a set of limited-edition skateboard decks for the skate shop Supreme, for whom the artist Damien Hirst had earlier designed decks. Fashion blogs have responded enthusiastically to the series of exclusive silk scarves that Condo has launched in partnership with Kanye West and design duo M/M (Paris). And last autumn the absurd and monstrous characters from Condo’s paintings came to life during the catwalk show of New York fashion designer Adam Kimmel, during which the models wore masks designed by the artist.
This summer Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is presenting the European premiere of the exhibition ‘George Condo: Mental States’. The retrospective exhibition is divided into four thematic sections: Portraiture, Melancholia, Manic Society and Abstraction. The often tragicomic characters in Condo’s paintings spring from his imagination, but clearly refer to stereotypes from contemporary society, historical figures and subjects from Western art history. The galleries are filled with an enormous diversity of colourful, surreal paintings and ten gilded bronze sculptures. The artist says that the works show the madness of everyday life.
‘George Condo: Mental States’ has been organised in partnership with the Hayward Gallery in London and has been curated by the Hayward Gallery’s director, Ralph Rugoff. The exhibition was a huge success earlier this year at the New Museum in New York. The New York Times wrote: “It’s titled ‘George Condo: Mental States’. It’s at the New Museum. And it’s sensational.” After Rotterdam the exhibition will travel to the Hayward Gallery and then to the Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt am Main.
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