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Day of the Idol
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Day of the Idol
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Day of the Idol

US
NY, US
US

About the item

Painted in a kaleidoscopic riot of color, the dense organization of captivating figures that dominate George Condos Day of the Idol represents a brilliant fusion of many of the artists most important touchstones: Old Master portraits, his own brand of psychological Cubism, cartoon references, and a commitment to constantly pushing the boundaries that separate figurative and non-representational painting. Following a nine-month stint as the diamond duster in Andy Warhols infamous Factory, Condo emerged onto the 1980s New York art scene alongside seminal figures like Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat. Like his peers, Condo was critically engaged throughout the eighties in bringing to life a new form of figurative painting that stylistically blended the representational and the abstract. Condo coined the terms artificial realism and psychological Cubism' to define his lexicon of amusing caricatures, profound and intimate portraits, and grotesque abstractions. Simon Baker writes: Artificial realismcan play out in the adoption or adaptation of contrasting and conflicting materials from both the history of art and popular culture, from the esoteric diagrams explaining the compositional secrets of the Old Masters to the incredible and unlikely abstractions inherent to animated cartoon characters. But in each case, what is most important is the blurring of distinctions between representational codes and languages that occurs when during the transposition whereby Condo, as he puts it, dismantles one reality and constructs another from the same parts. (The artist quoted in 2012 in Simon Baker, George Condo: Painting Reconfigured, London, 2015, p. 55) Within Condos creative output, the genre of portraiture occupies a position of tremendous importance. Taking inspiration from masters as unalike as Diego Velázquez, Edouard Manet, Giorgio de Chirico, Pablo Picasso, Willem de Kooning and Philip Guston, Condo has woven into the fabric of figurative painting a renewed interest in inserting art historical tropes into a playful and absurd new context, both reviving and humorously undermining the integrity of the genre of portraiture. For Condo, it is the imaginary potential of portraits that defines the genre for him; as such, the artist tends to paint from his own mental snapshot or emotional reaction, rather than from life. Charged with emotional intensity and psychological depth, Day of the Idol features a crowd of figures whose profiles are as disparate as the Virgin Mary and Bugs Bunny. Crushed together in a bizarre and nonsensical composition, the figures heads align along the same horizontal axis, below which their bodies are fragmented into disjointed planes of color. An enormous range of human emotion is on display across this spectrum of figures; joy, terror, hilarity, fury, and ecstasy collide in a riot of forms that bridges the gap between an emotional state and a physical reality. Condo painted Day of the Idol at a moment in his career when he had pushed the limits of his iconic pod figures, now fragmenting, extrapolating, and wedging them back together in impossible configurations. Just as Pablo Picasso fractured the picture plane in order to reveal the way light hits different sides of an object, so Condo shattered the human psyche in order to reveal different angles of the same person.\nAlthough these unedited human disasters possess no true verisimilitude to their referents, the churning collision of forms is perhaps one of the most honest and accurate representations of a complicated modern psychology: teeth, glee, rage, smiles, insanity, cheeks, loneliness, and eyes crushed together in an almost unbearable state of being. Condo has established himself in the canon of Western art history as a master puppeteer of the human psyche, presenting to his audience forms that delight and repulse, amuse and sadden, welcome and alienate. His unraveling and subsequent reassembly of various pictorial languages has cemented him as one of todays most clever and cutting-edge contemporary painters. As Holland Cotter notes in his review of George Condo: Mental States at the New Museum in 2011: Mr. Condo is not a producer of single precious items consistent in style and long in the making. If thats what you want from painting, hell disappoint you. Hes an artist of variety, plentitude and multiformity. He needs to be seen in an environment that presents him not as a virtuoso soloist but as the master of the massed chorale. (Holland Carter, A Mind Where Picasso Meets Looney Tunes, The New York Times, January 27, 2011)\nSigned and dated 2011
US
NY, US
US

medium

Acrylic, charcoal, and pastel on linen

creator

Condo, George

condition

This work is in excellent condition. Scattered areas of minor wrinkling to the paint are visible in the impasto, which is an inherent phenomenon for this medium and consistent with the artist’s practice. Under ultraviolet light there are no apparent restorations. The work was not inspected out of its frame. The canvas is framed in a wood frame under Plexiglas. In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.

dimensions

68 by 66 in. 172.7 by 167.6 cm.

provenance

Skarstedt Gallery, New York Acquired by the present owner from the above in 2011

signedDate

Signed and dated 2011

artist_range_end

1957

artist_range_start

1957

creator_nationality_dates

B.1957


*Note: The price is not recalculated to the current value. It refers to the actual final price at the time the item was sold.

*Note: The price is not recalculated to the current value. It refers to the actual final price at the time the item was sold.


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