MYBDTF by George Condo Set of 5

MYBDTF by George Condo Set of 5

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By: George Condo for Kanye West

Year: 2010

Condition: 4

Size: 12 x 12 each

Frame: Black Wood

 

The artwork, designed by George Condo, shows West being straddled on a bed by an armless winged female (a phoenix)[71] with fearsome features and a long, spotted tail. Both are nude, and one of the phoenix's nipples and her buttocks are visible.[72] The artwork was done at the painter's New York studio, after West visited for several hours and they listened to tapes of the rapper's music. Over the next few days, Condo made eight or nine paintings for the album. Two of them were portraits of West, one in extreme closeup, with mismatched eyes and four sets of teeth. Another showed his head, crowned and decapitated, placed sideways on a white slab, impaled by a sword. There was also a painting of a dyspeptic ballerina in a black tutu, a painting of the crown and the sword by themselves in a grassy landscape.[72] Condo made five covers, all which were included with the album's purchase.[71] A second cover, with a painting of a ballerina, was posted on the Amazon.com pre-order page.[73]It was originally intended to be the artwork for "Runaway"'s single release, but West used a photograph of a ballerina instead.[73] Another painting, The Priest, was completed for the album by Condo, who described it as an attempt to bring depictions of religious figures into the modern world.[74]

According to Condo, West requested the original cover image be provocative enough to be banned by retailers, as a publicity stunt. In October 2010, a month before the album's release, West tweeted: "Yoooo they banned my album cover!!!!! Banned in the USA!!! They don't want me chilling on the couch with my Phoenix!" He also suggested Walmart had rejected the cover and cited the case of Nirvana's 1991 album Nevermind, which featured a photo of a naked baby. "So Nirvana can have a naked human being on their cover, but I can't have a PAINTING of a monster with no arms and a polka dot tail and wings," he said. In response, Walmart denied West's suggestion in a statement that read, "We're excited about Kanye West's new album and we look forward to carrying it in our stores … We did not reject the cover artwork and it was not presented to us."[75] Some retailers would not carry the album with its original cover, in which case Condo's ballerina artwork was used as a substitute.[76]

In 2011, it was named one of the 50 greatest album covers of all time by MusicRadar.[77] In 2015, Billboard named the phoenix artwork as the 30th best album cover of all time.[78] In 2017, NME listed it as the seventh best album artwork of the 21st century so far.[