George Condo, Untitled, 2007. 20th Century & Contemporary Art New York, Afternoon Sale.
The painting longs, it tests and it plays. It’s always been a piece of music for me and [...] I feel that this piece of music needs to be played constantly, and continue to lend itself, as those pieces in those museums and galleries did for me as a teenager.
- Josh Brolin
Held in the collection of American actor Josh Brolin, George Condo’s Untitled is a remarkable example of the artist’s unique approach to portraiture. The work is a kaleidoscope of color and form, plunging into the grotesque and the captivating, the comedic and the tragic, highlighting Condo’s dark humor while mining the psychological depths of both mass media and art history. The artist fluently layers a multitude of mediums, working line, form and color into a multi-faceted portrait that brims with an explosive energy. The painting presents an irreverent cast of characters, exaggerated body parts, and fantastical worlds in one of our generation’s most transformative investigations into the genre of painting.
Brolin, known for his roles in No Country for Old Men, Inherent Vice, and the Avengers series, as well as 2021's Dune, does not readily consider himself a collector. For him, art is a medium of encounter, something that combines memory with an immutable quality that sings with a unique voice to each viewer. Below, the Academy Award nominee recalls his own relationship with the art, as well as the shared experience of those who have viewed Untitled in his home, and how those encounters bring dimension to an artwork bursting with life.
George Condo, Untitled, 2007 (detail). 20th Century & Contemporary Art New York, Afternoon Sale.
On art's allure
"Since traveling through Europe by train and thumb as a teenager, art has always been a great solace for me. Museums were the go-to when lonely or yearning for company; paintings and sculptures spoke as great characters, sometimes regal, sometimes chaotic, and the colors chosen had voice, had personality, and kept me attentive for hours on end."
"I now accumulate paintings and sculptures. I don’t see myself as a collector. I have a relationship with each one and I never buy anything I don’t love."
On the tenure of a work
"As all relationships are different — some lasting, and others wanting to move on — sometimes paintings get bored with just me and whomever else in my vicinity is gawking at them, and they beg for new company. This George Condo, specifically, has ignited artists that have passed through my home into new perceptions regarding their own work; churning up how they might approach their next paintings or utilizing some electricity that was held over from the time they spent inhaling it at my home. The painting longs, it tests and it plays. It’s always been a piece of music for me and, as my life is very much a nomad’s life, I feel that this piece of music needs to be played constantly, and continue to lend itself, as those pieces in those museums and galleries did for me as a teenager."
On finding new life
"Whomever acquires this George Condo, I hope it speaks to you as loudly as it spoke to me. And don’t forget to take the time to watch those listening to it once in a while, which is half the fun of owning a painting like this."