At Sotheby’s Palm Beach a new selling exhibit Condo x Haring: Expressions of the Imagination features works spanning various media by George Condo and the late Keith Haring.
The exhibit illustrates the artists’ friendship and the influence they had on each other over the short time they were friends.
In ’83 Haring (along with Andy Warhol) went to an exhibit at the Anderson Theater Gallery in New York, which included numerous works by a 26-year-old Condo where they introduced by mutual friends.
Haring’s popularity was starting to be recognized not inly in the NYC art scene but internationally. (Condo was still relatively unknown outside of New York.) After their initial meeting, Condo (who identifies as straight) and Haring (out and gay) began meeting regularly and quickly became art buddies.
Condo said about their early friendship,
When I was still living in New York… I saw Keith maybe one day a week and that day was the most important day for me.
I’m so fascinated by what he does. That one-take idea of his art! The investigation of this automatic art is so totally pure!
It’s a universal meaning that Keith seems to have invented.”–CONDO IN JOHN GRUEN, KEITH HARING: THE AUTHORIZED BIOGRAPHY
Besides hanging out, they began to a collaborate, visiting each other’s studios. One of Condo’s most recognized works, Dancing To Miles, 1985 (now in the collection of The Broad museum in LA) was created in Haring’s East Village studio.
Keith traveled to Paris to visit George after he relocated and they were often seen together at gallery and museum exhibitions.
The automatism of Keith’s work that inspired Condo was derived originally from abstractions that came to him “like automatic writing” when he was taking hallucinogens.
Haring witnessed Condo painting his Expanding Canvases, and wondered,
Man, I don’t know how you continue to invent all these forms and shapes and things and not run into a repetitive situation. I like the way every single square inch is something different.”
Both artists inherited the legacy of the masters who came before them (Picasso, Pollock, Calder, Warhol) and both revolutionized the idea of abstract figuration with their own unique use of line and form.
…there is one question George is asked about life and art and which is more important, and George said art is more important because it is immortal.
This struck a very deep note inside me… I’m sure that what will live on after I die is important enough to make sacrifices of my personal luxury and leisure time now.
Work is all I have and art is more important than life.”–HARING IN KEITH HARING JOURNALS
After Keith’s death in 1990, Condo continued to break the boundaries of Neo-Expressionism and abstract figuration.
Reflecting on their friendship, Condo said,
all the fun and amazingly inspirational times spent together with Keith will always remain deep in my heart.
He was at all times truly my best friend.”
Condo x Haring: Expressions of the Imagination is up through December 31, 2022 at Sotheby’s Palm Beach.