"I've been using certain pop characters to portray different groups in society. Sesame Street reminds me of the Bronx, and each character has started to represent a different type of personality from where I grew up. For example, Cookie Monster is the typical addict you would pass by on the street without thinking twice, but he actually is an incredibly sad character when you stop to think about his life."
Anthony Rondinone. 2021
Anthony Rondinone (b. 1984) is an American artist, born and raised in the Bronx, New York, the son of a carpenter and nurse. Drawing from his upbringing in a low-income, immigrant family, Rondinone explores the range of raw emotions that permeated his community – pain, isolation, depression, and anger. The artist creates his own cast of New York personalities by reinterpreting familiar characters of popular culture, from “The Simpsons” to “Sesame Street”. Rondinone analyzes and develops the unexamined traits of these iconic figures, rendering the undercurrents of each subject’s psyche in his expressive painting style. In one such example, the artist personifies the torment of addiction with a frenetic portrait of Cookie Monster. The parallels between Rondinone’s archetypes and his chosen characters intentionally border on the absurd, their visages distorted and grotesque, to reveal disturbing truths about the darker side of humanity. Rondinone’s practice confronts the ugliness of society, prompting self-reflection and fostering empathy.