George Condo has become a bonafide celebrity in the past few years, dragged from outside of the art world into the realm of mainstream entertainment by the hands of Kanye West, who used his art for the cover of his 2010 release, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Condo translated quite well, his art history referential pieces serving as iconoclastic touchstones that very much mirror what West believes himself to be. This past Saturday, his “first extensive exhibition” in Los Angeles opened at Prism and it is great.
The exhibit sees drawings, paintings, and even sculptures form Condo, whose work is a delightful blend of art history reference, lewd behavior, and a cast of characters from his own beautiful dark twisted fantasy. You see a little bit of Picasso, you see a little bit of Velázquez, and even a little bit of Goya: his reference points are quite clear and very accessible to grab ahold of and seem like fake portraits done by the aforementioned artists (which is obviously the point). What Condo does best is fucking with our notions of these characters, which is where his iconoclasm comes in: for Velásquez or Picasso, naked women and sex is nothing surprising; however, his pieces go all the way there and back, many pieces depicting women playing in their nether regions, lots of fellatio, and even a priest going down within an orgiastic crowd of ladies. It’s fun and it’s colorful and it’s definitely something you wouldn’t want to take your mother to (unless she is a ~*~cOoL mOm~*~).
The show is Prism’s follow up to the show stopping Os Gemeos show that very well will be the best show of the year. Those are huge shoes to fill. Condo makes a great effort as he really does turn Prism into a salon of sorts. This is mostly attributed to the work of JF Chen, who have furnished the show from chairs and tables to lighting and lamps. The pieces range from art deco to modern and are sparse but plentiful. They add the extra kick in the balls the show needs, balancing between being overstated and understated, a perfect pairing for Condo’s work.
There isn’t really a problem with the show at all: it’s pretty great but, then again, Prism is really great. We did have a little bit of an uncomfortable visit as Mr. PC “Prism” Valmordiba was escorting a group of bros around as we tried to catch photos and take it all in. His presence definitely made for nervous viewing and photo taking but also made us see that, yes, Kanye West is the reason these gaggle of bros are in here laughing, cawing, “Duddddde: that priest is going down!!!!!” That’s fine but a little unexpected and, you know, silly. Be that as it may, whoever those guys and their 2012 Audi R8 are, they were there to buy a painting and even talked to the front desk girl about getting that priest-going-down painting. More power to you!
Condo’s work will be up at Prism through April 28. Stop in and see it and be sure to sit down on all of the gorgeous JF Chen furniture.