Leon Golub's Raw Nerve

The Met Breuer's retrospective of incomparable Leon Golub was long overdue. Aptly titled "Raw Nerve" Golub's work has always agitated his viewers and much like his painting process scraped down to our nerves. His lifelong dedication not to beauty but to horrors we inflict upon one another has always been brutal investigation of the abuse of power.

In an interview with Will Fenstermaker, Curator Kelly Baum explains
I think Golub structures his paintings this way to implore us to intervene, forcing us to make a choice by positioning us phantasmatically in relation to the canvas. So are we a bystander? Will we help or will we run away? In the case of the White Squad painting in the exhibition, are we another mercenary about to hit this guy over the head with a club? Or are we another victim lying on the floor? Whichever it is, you can't remain passive or noncommittal. Golub won't allow it. more

Leon Golub, Gigantomachy II (1966)

detail, Gigantomachy II 

Leon Golub, White Squad VIII, 1985, Acrylic on linen

detail: Golub, White Squad VIII,

Leon Golub, The Conversation, 1990, Acrylic on linen

detail: Golub, The Conversation

Leon Golub, Two Black Women and a White Man, 1986. Acrylic on linen

detail: Golub, Two Black Women and a White Man,


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