Leon Golub (January 23, 1922 - August 8, 2004) was an American painter. He was born in Chicago, Illinois, where he also studied, receiving his BA at the University of Chicago in 1942, his BFA and MFA at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1949 and 1950, respectively. He was married to and collaborated with the artist Nancy Spero (1926 - October 18, 2009). Their son, Stephen Golub, is an economics professor at Swarthmore College. Contents [hide] 1 Early life 2 Career 3 2001: The Renaissance 4 Selected Public Collections 5 Selected Private Foundations 6 Selected Private Collections 7 Films & Videos 8 Quotes 9 References 10 External links [edit]Early life Born in Chicago in 1922, Golub received his B.A. in Art History from the University of Chicago in 1942. From 1947 to 1949 he studied, under the G.I. Bill, at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he met the artist Nancy Spero, to whom he was married for nearly fifty years. In Chicago he became involved with other painters, known as the Monster Roster group, which believed that an observable connection to the external world and to actual events was essential if a painting was to have any relevance to the viewer or society. This is a view that informed Golub‘s work throughout his career. ‘Interrogation III‘, acrylic on linen painting by Leon Golub, 1981 [edit]Career Golub, who always painted in a unique figural style, drew upon diverse representations of the body from ancient Greek and Roman sculpture, to photographs of athletic competitions, to gay pornography; often pulled directly from a huge database he assembled of journalistic images from the mass media. He likened his painting process to sculptural technique and employed a method of layering and scraping away paint, sometimes using a meat cleaver, leaving varying amounts of canvas untouched. From 1959 through 1964 Golub and his wife Nancy Spero opted to live in Europe, a move occasioned in part by the belief that Europe would be more receptive to their work dealing overtly with issues of power, sexual and political. During this period Golub‘s work increased in size because of larger available studio space and the inspiration of the French tradition of large-scale history painting. He also switched from using lacquer to acrylics, left more of the surface unpainted, and began to grind the paint directly into the canvas. While in Italy, both Golub and Spero were profoundly influenced by the figurative works of Etruscan and Roman art, whose narratives addressed ancient themes of power and violence. When Golub returned to New York, the Vietnam War was escalating, and he responded with his two series: Napalm and Vietnam. In the mid-seventies Golub was beset with self-doubt. He destroyed or cut up many works he produced up to this period and nearly abandoned painting. In the late seventies, however, he produced more than a hundred portraits of public figures, among them political leaders, dictators, and religious figures. Leon Golub: Paintings, 1950-2000 includes several portraits of Nelson Rockefeller and Ho Chi Minh, along with images of Fidel Castro, Francisco Franco, Richard Nixon, and Henry Kissinger. In the 1980s Golub turned his attention to terrorism in a variety of forms, from the subversive operations of governments to urban street violence. Killing fields, torture chambers, bars, and brothels became inspiration and subject for work that dealt with such themes as violent aggression, racial inequality, gender ambiguity, oppression, and exclusion. Among the work produced in this period are the series Mercenaries, Interrogation, Riot, and Horsing Around. Exhumed, 2002. From the nineties to his death, Golub‘s work shifted toward the illusionistic, with forms semi-visible, and appropriated graphic styles from ancient carvings, medieval manuscripts, and contemporary graffiti. As an older man he began to consider his own mortality, and moved toward themes of separation, loss, and death. Text appeared in many of the paintings combined with a series of symbolic references, including dogs, lions, skulls, and skeletons. Golub‘s work was seen in solo exhibitions throughout the world, among them World Wide (1991), a Grand Lobby project at the Brooklyn Museum of Art. For World Wide the artist created a process, repeated in exhibitions at several other museums, by which he enlarged images and details from his paintings and screened them on transparent sheets of vinyl, hung so that they surround the viewer. He was represented in many group exhibitions and was one of the few white artists included in Black Male: Representations of Masculinity in Contemporary American Art at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1994. In 1996 Golub was given a commission to design a set of stained glass windows for Temple Sholom in Chicago, the four windows depict the life of Joseph. These would be the only stained glass windows Leon Golub ever did. They were fabricated in New York by Victor Rothman and Gene Mallard. [edit]2001: The Renaissance While Leon Golub‘s later works from the 1990s offer more fragmented (in his words "left-over") reincarnations of his early messages, it is his larger, carved works, vividly depicting power relations that have re-gained attention with the U.S.‘s involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan. These powerful images have remained staid and timeless in their relevance and commentary on current geo-political affairs. In 2003, Golub revisited his 1959 painting, Reclining Youth, part of a series of paintings inspired by friezes at the Great Altar of Zeus in Pergamon. Working with Magnolia Editions, the artist translated the painting into a large-scale [14-foot-wide (4.3 m)] Jacquard tapestry, his first and only textile work.[1] [edit]Selected Public Collections Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, TX Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth Art Institute of Chicago, IL Australian National Gallery, Canberra Baltimore Museum of Art, MD Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris Brooklyn Museum of Art, NY Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA Cincinnati Art Museum, OH Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC David and Alfred Smart Gallery, University of Chicago Des Moines Art Center, IA Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC Honolulu Academy of Arts, HI Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX Indiana University Art Museum, Bloomington Indianapolis Museum of Art, IN Israel Museum, Jerusalem Jewish Museum, New York Kent State University, OH Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois , Champaign-Urbana Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA Madison Art Center, Madison, WI Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York Miami Art Museum, FL Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Quebec Musei Civici di Udine, Friuli Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL Museum of Modern Art, New York National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC National Museum of Fine Arts, Hanoi Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, MO Norton Simon Museum of Art, Pasadena, CA Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago, IL Tate Gallery, London Tel Aviv Museum of Art Tennessee State Museum, Nashville Toledo Museum of Art, OH University of California at Berkeley University of Massachusetts at Amherst University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Austin University Museum, University of Texas Vancouver Art Gallery Whitney Museum of American Art, NY [edit]Selected Private Foundations Eli Broad Family Foundation, Los Angeles, CA [edit]Selected Private Collections Saatchi Collection, London Gene R. Summers, Chicago Ulrich Meyer and Harriet Horwitz, Chicago [edit]Films & Videos Golub / Spero, DVD from Kartemquin Films, Chicago, IL, 2006 (which includes Golub: Late Works are the Catastrophes; Woman As Protagonist: The Art of Nancy Spero; Artemis, Acrobats, Divas and Dancers: Nancy Spero in the NYC Subway) Golub: The Late Works Are the Catastrophes, a film by Kartemquin Films, Chicago, IL, 2004 Golub, a film by Kartemquin Films, Chicago, IL, 1988 (previewed New York Film Festival, 1988) State of the Art: Ideas & Images of the 1980s, Program 5, TV Film Channel Four, London, England, 1987 Victims, Media Environment with Nancy Spero and Werner Wada, Rod Rodgers Dance Company The Mercenary Game, a documentary film by Alain d‘Aix et al., The RadioTelevision du Quebec, 1983 [edit]Quotes (June 2001) Too many people have a sort of protective attitude about art. You know, Don‘t touch. It‘s valuable. I‘m trying to be more in your face, like when you walk down the street and suddenly you encounter a situation. I‘m trying to invite you into scenes where you might not want to be invited in. (2000) If I had to give a description of my work I would say it‘s a definition of how power is demonstrated through the body and in human actions, and in our time, how power and stress and political and industrial powers are shown. (1987) I‘m not on the frontlines of anything. This is studio work. At the same time I want it to have an aggressive impact. [edit]References Marzorati, Gerald, “A painter of darkness: Leon Golub and our times”, New York, Viking, 1990. Murphy, Patrick T., “paintings, 1987-1992, curated by Patrick T. Murphy; with an essay by Carrie Rickey”, Philadelphia: Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, 1992. Obalk, Hector, “Leon Golub: heads and portraits”, Kyoto, Kyoto Shoin, 1990. ^ Magnolia Editions - Leon Golub. Retrieved Nov. 6, 2009.

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