George Condo on his 5 Kanye West coversJuxtapoz // Thursday, 25 Nov 2010
This isn't about Kanye West, because you might be sick of him by now, but his My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy album has an important art bent to it. George Condo, who is about to open a major retrospective at the New Museum in NYC, created all 5 of Fantasy's covers, all immediately iconic and powerful pieces of art. Condo spoke to New York Magazine about the whole process of creating work for Fantasy.
Condo's best line? “[Kanye] was new to me,” Condo says. “I was very old school rap, you know what I mean?”
Above is Condo's Cubist-style portrait of Kanye, which had influences from Macbeth.
The cover banned by Wal-Mart and Apple’s iTunes Music Store, this is Condo's sphinx straddling Kanye. Even Kanye was shocked. “The superimposition of people’s perceptions on a cartoon is shocking,” Condo says. “What’s happening in their minds should be banned. Not the painting.”
Condo's wife, Anna, showed Kanye a painting of a French dancer when visiting Condo's studio. After, Kanye wanted a portrait of a dancer for the album.
More Shakespearian images, more Macbeth imagery. Condo says "He’s alive in the painting, you know what I mean? In a strange way it’s like, he opened his eyes.”
The priest, the newest one: "[Kanye and I] talked about paintings in the early baroque era depicting religious figures."
It's a really interesting take on an artist working with a musician on how to create an album's identity and image. Worth a read at New York Magazine's site.