Artist George Condo debuted his People Are Strange exhibition at the newly opened Hauser & Wirth in West Hollywood, located at at 8980 Santa Monica Boulevard. There were fifteen oversized pieces throughout the gallery attracting a steady flow of traffic throughout the day.
“The space is really inviting,” said artist Alicia Astronomo, who drove to West Hollywood from Laguna Niguel in Orange County. “I love how big the paintings are. They really enrapture you. I feel completely consumed like I’m in a funhouse. There is a lot of chaos. When I look at his paintings I feel like he’s dealing with something. My partner and I agree that sometimes when you’re painting, it feels like you’re running away from something, but it’s there staring right at you.”
Alicia says she believes the paintings were made quickly. “These were made for fun,” she said. “I don’t think he was trying to show off at all. They feel like things I would keep hidden in my sketchbook, that I wouldn’t release, but this makes me want to be more silly.”
Condo, who is a former West Hollywood resident, says he takes the exhibit’s name from the 1967 song by The Doors and features new paintings filled with fragmented portraits and abstractions. The large-scale works reflect LA’s contradictions with vibrating planes, lines, and geometries that suggest a world of opposites and convey deep contradictions through Condo’s mastery of painting. The works on view embody the incongruities and seductive power for which Los Angeles is known.
People Are Strange’ finds Condo offering up impressions of the strange world around him and, in doing so, capturing something universal about the human condition and the transforming effects of time’s passage.
Born in Concord, New Hampshire in 1957, George Condo lives and works in New York City. He studied Art History and Music Theory at the University of Massachusetts in Lowell, where he became particularly inspired by a course on Baroque and Rococo painting. He moved to Boston and played in a punk band, ‘The Girls;’ relocated to New York, where he worked as a printer for Andy Warhol; and spent a year studying Old Master glazing techniques in Los Angeles. During his first trip to Europe in 1983, Condo connected with the anarchic Mülheimer Freiheit group in Cologne which included painters Jiri Georg Dokoupil and Walter Dahn.
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Located in West Hollywood’s LGBT Rainbow District, Hauser & Wirth occupies the site of former Heritage Classics Motorcar Company, a vintage automobile sales showroom. The distinctive 1930s Spanish Colonial Revival style of Hollywood’s Golden Age has been preserved while the interior has been transformed into a 6,000 square foot exhibition space by architect Annabelle Selldorf of Selldorf Architects.
The exhibition is free to attend. No advance booking necessary.