Painter George Condo Explains Kanye West's New Album Art

By Michael Preston
|  Monday, Nov 22, 2010  |  Updated 6:45 AM CDT
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Rapper Kanye West also had a chance to take the stage to redeem himself from last years incident, but singing, "Let's have a toast for the do&$*!bags, did not seem very gracious.

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The music isn't the only thing drawing attention to Kanye's West newest release, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, which hits stores this week. The album's cover art, created by painter George Condo, is drawing plenty of attention too for their bold statements and explicit imagery, reports New York.

Condo, a New York-based artist known for his cubist-inspired work, said he was contacted by the rapper last summer to collaborate on the album's visual component, but he wasn't familiar with 'ye's work.

"He was new to me," Condo said. "I was very old school rap, you know what I mean?" But upon their first meeting, when Kanye blasted lead single "Power," Condo said the music began generating ideas in his head immediately.

"I started having all ideas about these mythological creatures and volcanic landscapes. Parts and pieces from Macbeth. Parts and pieces from some sort of sci-fi landscape." But the song's hook inspired Condo to want go for a portrait instead.

"It's sort of cubist, you know, this portrait with all these different dimensions to it," Condo said of one of the five works that the mercurial musician eventually selected for use. "Like an African mask with almost a modern face. I wanted to get that feeling that he's almost a Miles Davis-like guy."

One of the covers, which depicts West with an evil grin on his face and being straddled by a nude, armless winged woman created a firestorm upon release and several major retailers such as Wal-Mart, Best Buy and Apple's iTunes Store said they would not sell that version of the album in their stores, much to the disgust of both West and Condo.

"The superimposition of people's perceptions on a cartoon is shocking," he says. "What's happening in their minds should be banned. Not the painting."

The other covers depict a ballerina toasting with a wine glass, a priest, and a severed head with a crown laid on its side with a sword through one ear.

Seleced Reading: New York, MTV, Soul Culture

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