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Since the early 1980s, George Condo has used traditional artistic methods and materials to depict unexpected, grotesque, and comic subjects. In The Butcher and His Wife, what appears at first glance to be a classical bronze sculpture of embracing figures is, in fact, a couple interrupted in the middle of a sexual encounter. Their startled expressions lend a comic sensibility which is immediately contradicted by the violence of the cleaver in the male figure’s head.
Beyond a critique of art historical convention common to his contemporaries, Condo engages in a deeper exploration of the sexuality and violence, comedy and tragedy inherent to human nature. The rough texture of the sculpture reveals the materiality of the clay from which the bronze was cast and renders ambiguous whether the figures are emerging from amorphous matter or disintegrating back into it.
"Picks: George Condo":http://artforum.com/archive/id=23266
--_Artforum_ (July 2009; note: registration required)
--_Frieze_ (May 2007)
"Picks: George Condo":http://artforum.com/archive/id=10980
--_Artforum_ (May 2006; note: registration required)
"Art in Review; George Condo":http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B02E0DF1139F934A15756C0A9639C8B63&scp=1&sq=george%20condo&st=cse
--_New York Times_ (May 2005)
--_Frieze_ (May 2000)
"Art in Review; George Condo":http://www.nytimes.com/1999/12/31/arts/art-in-review-george-condo.html?scp=2&sq=george%20condo&st=cse
--_New York Times_ (December 1999)
"George Condo Interview with Anney Bonney":http://bombsite.com/issues/40/articles/1551
--_Bomb_ (Summer 1992)