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The banned Condo image.

In case you haven’t heard from the star’s overactive Twitter account, Kanye’s latest album is called My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, and the just-released album cover art pretty much matches the title.

Following Kanye’s GOOD Friday single series which also featured the artist, the album cover is painted by none other than 1980s art world wunderkind George Condo. The image depicts a bear-like Kanye reclining on a bright blue couch, a naked human/bird hybrid with a polka-dotted (snow leopard?) tail perches on his leg and shrieks into the foreground, a classic Condo grin on her face. I would tell you this is a fine example of Fauvist coloring, but somehow it seems unnecessary.

The news is that the cover wasn’t exactly endorsed by Kanye’s Universal Music Group Island Def Jam label. After worries were expressed about the scandalous nature of the art, Kanye was “strongly” recommended to change it. However, the LA Times quotes a music industry source, Kanye “was told if he wanted to do it, the label would stand behind him.”

So, he sticks by his Condo image, and releases it to the whole world on Twitter! It’s not that the album cover was banned, exactly, it’s more like people are worried about it being banned by major department outlets like Walmart, pretty much the only places where CDs turn a profit anymore. Nothing’s definitively banned yet, but you can be sure we’ll follow the case!

Condo, it seems, has become Kanye’s house artist, creating everything from Twitter portraits to album art. The painter hasn’t been as prominent as he used to be, but his latest project has thrust the artist’s paintings into the spotlight more so than the artist himself; all over Twitter the cry can be heard: “Who made these Kanye covers!??!?!” The answer might surprise the music fans asking the question.

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Kyle Chayka

Kyle Chayka was senior editor at Hyperallergic. He is a cultural critic based in Brooklyn and has contributed to publications including ARTINFO, ARTnews, Modern Painters, LA Weekly,...

2 replies on “Kanye’s George Condo Album Cover (Probably) Banned”

  1. Kyle…. as music goes more and more digital…. do you think that the album cover art genre is going to fade?

  2. I actually feel like it’s doing better than ever, especially with stuff like this. Kanye’s website and periodic online releases actually put a lot of emphasis on the album cover art, other bands just have yet to fully embrace it.

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