George Condo at the Phillips Collection
George Condo: The Way I Think - MAR 11 - JUN 25, 2017 at the Phillips Collection, 1600 21st St. NW. 202-387-2151. phillipscollection.org.
The Phillips Collection, exhibition of George Condo is curated wonderfully by Klaus Ottmann and entails 200 drawings, sketches, and “Drawing Paintings” is a must-see exhibit by an American master. Condo is a brilliant and gifted artist whose style is unique resembling many but like a collage changes as you view each image. As Klaus Ottmann states in his catalogue essay “His works synthesize elements ranging from 17th century Venetian and Dutch painting through 20th-century Cubism, Surrealism, Abstract Expressionism, and Pop Art into singular works of art.
Condo re-assembles cartoon gestures, distorted heads, faces and bodies, the result, his own contorted characters. He makes it look easy, like a bartender, he shakes his mix of many art styles and pours this mixture onto the canvas with speed and precision. He’s like the modern-day Francis Picabia but a master creator of abstraction and figuration in American Art. “The only way for me to feel the difference between every other artist and me is to use every artist to become me,” said George Condo.
George Condo, born 1957, grew up with the explosion of cartoons and comic books in the 60’s and 70’s and you can see this cartooning theme recurring throughout his work. His choice of colors and disfigured characters remind me of episodes of Road Runner and Bugs Bunny post explosion or fall when their body parts are still randomly connected to their bodies but still aesthetically pleasing in a way that leaves you wanting to see more and more. Klaus Ottmanns decision to present most of the work salon style enables you to compare and contrast Condo’s styles easily.
Go see the exhibit and have fun!