In Conversation: George Condo and Massimiliano Gioni

  • 9 November 2020

On the occasion of the exhibition ‘George Condo. Internal Riot’ on view at Hauser & Wirth New York, 542 West 22nd Street, we joined artist George Condo and Artistic Director of the New Museum, Massimiliano Gioni for a live virtual conversation on Zoom.

About George Condo
George Condo lives and works in New York City. He began drawing and painting at an early age.  He went on to study Art History and Music Theory and was a performance major in classical guitar at the University of Massachusetts in Lowell, where he became particularly inspired by a course on Baroque and Rococo painting. Condo moved to New York City in 1979 and in 1980 worked for 9 months as a silkscreen printer in Andy Warhol’s factory.  His first exhibition was in Los Angeles in 1983 with Ulrike Kantor Gallery, during which time he began his first “fake Old Master” paintings.

He travelled to Europe for the first time in 1983 where he connected in Cologne with the anarchic Mülheimer Freiheit group.  From Cologne he went to the Canary Islands where he lived for several months and created a body of Old Master-like paintings which were part of his first solo exhibition in New York City in 1984. This body of work lead to Condo’s famous manifesto of Artificial Realism.  His work is now included in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum, MoMA, and many of the major art museums around the world.

About Massimiliano Gioni
Massimiliano Gioni is the Artistic Director of the New Museum in New York. He has curated numerous international exhibitions, including the 55th Venice Biennale (2013), the 8th Gwangju Biennale (2010), the inaugural New Museum Triennial (2009), the 4th Berlin Biennale (2006) and Manifesta 5 (2004). At the New Museum Gioni has curated many solo exhibitions, including surveys shows by Sarah Lucas, Chris Ofili, Raymond Pettibon, Pipilotti Rist, Anri Sala, Nari Ward, and many others.

His group shows at the New Museum include ”The Keeper”, 2016, “Here and Elsewhere”, 2014, “NYC 1993: Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star”, 2013, “Ghosts in the Machine”, 2013, “After Nature”, 2008. Since 2003 Gioni directs the Nicola Trussardi Foundation, a mobile museum which organizes public art projects and major exhibitions in public spaces, ancient palazzos, forgotten monuments, and abandoned spaces in the city of Milan.

About ‘George Condo. Internal Riot’
Hauser & Wirth presents ‘Internal Riot’ an exhibition of new paintings and works on paper by American artist George Condo. Made during the quarantine period, these works reflect the unsettling experience of physical distance and the absence of human contact during this prolonged time of social isolation. The pandemic has forced Condo to take his portraiture practice to a new level, with invented characters captured in an abstract web that reveals the humanity inherent in their fractured psychological states.

In this new body of work, Condo’s figures grapple with the overwhelming uncertainty and dissonant emotions that are being felt across the globe. The portraits reflect a range of emotions occurring simultaneously within us. The subjects depicted are devoid of connection to one another in a state where, according to the artist, ‘we are dealing with opposing forces and the elasticity of time.’ Earlier this spring Hauser & Wirth presented the online exhibition ‘Drawings for Distanced Figures.’ This new body of work which forms ‘Internal Riot’ continues to provide a powerful commentary on the divisive world we live in today.