What more can be said about Los Angeles, it is a city that fell in love with paradox. Consider Hauser & Wirth’s recently opened Los Angeles gallery – housed in a vintage car showroom on West Hollywood’s iconic Santa Monica Boulevard – where ‘s Spanish Colonial Revival-style stucco facade currently forms the colorful and kinetic nude forms of artist George Condo’s new anthology “People Are Strange.”
“The real beauty of this space is the windows on Santa Monica Boulevard,” says gallery executive director Stacen Berg. “There were tens of thousands of people who were driving by or stuck in traffic, and they used to look at these exotic foreign cars, and now you see these beautiful paintings. So we really took that as a guide for the direction of the exhibition ”
into the space, I hear “People Are Strange” by Doors, I see A woman in a ruby flamenco dress walks past a man in tracksuit who leans against a graffitied building while his pit bull does business on a nearby fire hydrant. Of course, it’s surprising that this scene, full of L.A.’s eccentricity, was painted not by an L.A. native, but by an artist most often associated with the city he lives and works in, New York.
However, George Condo was never an easy artist to lock down. Born in 1957 Concord, New Hampshire, he studied art history and music theory at the University of Massachusetts before spending the ensuing decades as an artist in cities across Europe and the United States. The oeuvre cannot be defined by one genre, or – given his stint as bass player in 60 punk band The Girls – even one A single art form. Comparing his process to that of the British artist Francis Bacon, Condo said, “When you drop a number on a roulette table, the ball spins…and in a few In seconds, you’re either a winner or a loser. And the way I splash paint on these canvases, it’s either win or lose, and I love the challenge of painting.”
As in his Hauser & Wirth exhibition, the artist says his inspirations come as naturally as his life’s travels and creative experiments lead us to believe. He was painting in the country last summer when he decided to look for an old record near the Doors. “The song ‘People Are Strange’ came out and [Jim Morrison] kept saying, ‘When you’re weird, when you’re straaaange…’ I was just thinking in my head – watching the news, looking at the world around us – you know what? People really are 1957 It was fucking weird,” Condor recalled. “Not the way they might go back to the 70 years, like Jim Morrison said, but like George Santos and Lindsey Graham and Kevin McCarthy and the people who ran this government and created the divided world we live in today.”