Thanks, Kanye! George Condo is Controversial Once Again

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Published October 18, 2010

 

THE COVER IN QUESTION. (VIA TWITPIC/@KANYEWEST)

Kanye West has now written nine tweets in a row about the proposed cover for his next album, My Beautiful Twisted Dark Fantasy, all since last night. The first announced that the cover, by New York artist George Condo, had been banned. The second was a Twitpic (above) of the cover painting, which depicts a naked woman with wings and a polka-dot tail atop a naked man. The other seven have been along these lines.

The controversy West started overnight has had two interesting effects: one, it’s led to journalists questioning the veracity of his claim that the album is “banned.” Banned by whom, exactly? The Los Angeles Times reports that in talks with his label, Island Def Jam, West “was strongly urged to use alternate art… but [the source] added that West ‘was told if he wanted to do it, the label would stand behind him.'” The label is apparently concerned about boycotts by Wal-Mart and other mass-market retailers, who still account for at least 10% of physical CD sales.

The other (welcome!) effect is that it’s thrust the painting’s artist, George Condo, into the spotlight for the second time this year. Condo, who has several pieces at MoMA and who was chosen for this year’s Whitney Biennial, deserves the attention. (Check out Slate’s ultra-informative slideshow of Condo’s work.)

Condo has also worked with the menswear designer Adam Kimmel—he designed the slightly nightmarish masks for Kimmel’s fall 2010 Paris presentation. We recommend striking while the Condo iron’s hot and snapping up one of the tees on which Condo and Kimmel collaborated for Barneys. It’s more relevant than ever!

[LA Times via NY Mag, MoMA, Slate, Barneys]