Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Outrageous George Condo

I just read an article about this artist in a Modern Painters magazine that I found in a friend's discard pile, dated April 2006. I'd never heard of George Condo before. What do you make of his paintings? Right away I think about how I felt when I first saw Philip Guston's work. Condo's work also brings to mind a drawing exercise that I do with my students when I tell them to make the absolute worst drawing that they can muster. Make it really bad, I say. Awful. Hideous.

Just go for it! I cheer. Make an Atrocious Drawing!

The students then rip furiously into their drawings, laughing, unleashed. They LOVE this exercise and some of them make their best work of the semester, because they feel free from judgement and expectation.

I found these two articles about Condo's work on-line (see links below). I'm trying to keep an open mind and learn something new.

About his work, Condo says:

I take full responsibility for painting something completely outrageous, but I'd never hang something like that in my living room!




Susan Beauchemin said...

Whoa! Kinda creepy! I kind of like it and kinda don't like it. It's almost a "take it away", but let me look again!

artslice said...

Wow, these are wild! Interesting angles of body parts... the paintings are fearless!

Martha Miller said...

yes - i have the same reaction - attraction/repulsion and confusion. they make me itch, but they also scratch an itch. they look like they were really fun and satisfying to paint, like a heavy handed perseverative doodle, one that i would ultimately rip up and throw away but it felt damn good to do.
sue, remember those creepy clown paintings dad had hanging in his office, one smiling and one sad? these paintings remind me of those.
yes, brenda, they are definitely fearless! but are they any good?? are they so bad that they are good? or is this a case (like rob s brought up in a past post) of "the emperor's new clothes?"

Rob S. said...

Because of this guy's genuine attitude towards the fact that his work is radically ugly, his pictorial shamelessness makes the whole premise acceptable to me (not that I need to validate anyone's work, mind you). I agree that the paintings are not unlike a grisly car crash in the median; you don't want to look, but you do anyway, and you regret having done so. Nevertheless, neither the artist nor the paintings pretend to be anything other than what they are, as is so often the case with post-postmoderns (or whatever the elitists are branding this era of art nullities). So, no, I don't like these, but I'm glad George is doing them, because they are honest works, at least,

Rob S. said...

Ignore the last comma, I was done! :)

artslice said...

Hmmm, interesting question. I think they have to be 'good' because they ignite such a reaction to viewers and that is not easy to do as an artist. Honestly, I enjoy them but wouldn't want to live with them!