George Condo (born 1957) may currently be the most famous former assistant to Andy Warhol, as he has become one of the most visible and lauded names in 21st century American contemporary art. Ironically enough, there was little interaction between George Condo and Warhol during the former’s brief, 9-month working period at the Factory. And while it’s arguable that Warhol acted as a direct artistic influence on Condo’s blend of Surrealist, Pop, and Cubist artwork, he certainly had a cultural impact, since the two shared deep and intimate conversations about fine art during cab rides uptown together from New York’s East Village after Condo emerged as an artist.
George Condo was born in Concord, New Hampshire. He specialized in art history and music theory while attending the University of Massachusetts Lowell, indicative of his twin love for both visual art and music. He would continue to wed the two after graduating and moving to Boston, both pursuing work in a screen print shop and touring the area as a member of the art-punk band, The Girls. Fellow future Warhol collaborator Jean-Michel Basquiat, who was in a band of his own, opened for The Girls, and the two struck up an artistic camaraderie. It was Basquiat who convinced Condo to relocate to New York City in 1980.
The journey to work with Warhol was surprisingly easy. Simply reaching out to an employment agency landed him in the hands of Rupert Jasen Smith, Warhol’s master printer at the time, who asked him to write a press release for Warhol’s most recent show. Warhol was reportedly impressed and wanted to hire whoever wrote it; thus, George made it to the Factory. He didn’t really get started until he impressed the crew with a retouching of a Diana Ross portrait. Condo found the work incredibly strenuous, however, and left for Los Angeles not long after starting. He estimates he helped produce around 5,000 prints under Warhol’s tutelage as a member of the Factory.
George Condo continues to have great fame and success as an artist, reaching even greater heights with high-profile collaborations with rappers Kanye West and Travis Scott, doing commissions for Gallery Met, and even receiving an Academy Award.