This week at The L Magazine I discuss the George Condo Retrospective at The New Museum. One small note on the piece: while I complain about Condo not besting his Bacon references, I realized after the fact that he’s almost certainly making fun of the painter. This made the painting MUCH more enjoyable.
Art isn’t timeless. It is emotive, and though a lot of it has lasted a while, its relevance changes with the values of our culture. It even changes in relation to current trends.
Few shows have made me more aware of this durability issue than figurative painter George Condo‘s New Museum retrospective Mental States (through May 8). Not fifteen years ago, Condo was an influence on seemingly countless artists, amongst them John Currin, Lisa Yuskavage and eventually, I would guess, evenDana Schutz. Today the reach of his influence has slowed considerably with the”¨ waning interest in figuration.
Dips in influence like this happen all the time, but this exhibition coinciding with a popular downturn meant I was less willing to forgive Condo’s weaknesses than I was even a few years ago. And so, while the great salon-style wall on the fourth floor brilliantly provides an overview of the artist’s career at a glance, I harped on the number of fucked-up faces with big teeth he produces. I’ve seen them too many times over the past ten years.
To read the full piece click here.