Leon Golub: Live & Die Like a Lion? is the first major museum exhibition to focus on the late drawings of the American artist Leon Golub (1922–2004). This presentation features approximately 50 oil stick and ink on Bristol board and vellum drawings made between 1999 and 2004. It also includes Golub’s only existent unfinished painting as well as preliminary ‘background’ drawings and the artist’s original source material. Although most often noted as a painter, Golub used drawing as a foundational tool throughout his career. The drawings on view mark a stylistic and thematic shift from a long-term preoccupation with the atrocities of the external world towards a more nuanced personal investigation. The resulting works are candid examples of an aesthetic immediacy and newfound freedom in the artist’s late work. Curated by Brett Littman, Executive Director of The Drawing Center, the exhibition will travel to the Mary & Leigh Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University, Evanston, IL (September 21, 2010–December 12, 2010) and The Museum Het Domein, Sittard, Netherlands (January 22, 2011–April 24, 2011).
ABOUT THE ARTIST Leon Golub (1922–2004) studied art history at the University of Chicago before serving in the U.S. Army as a cartographer during WWII. When he returned to Chicago he studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and received an M.F.A. in 1950. Along with a group of like-minded artists, including Nancy Spero, whom he married in 1951, Golub sought to develop a figurative style that responded to the political and existential conditions of the postwar period. Following a short stint of teaching in the Midwest, Golub and Spero moved to Paris in 1959. Returning to the U.S. by 1964, the artist moved to New York where he created his signature large-scale paintings that responded directly to current events, many of which he staunchly opposed.
PUBLIC PROGRAMS Sunday, April 25, 2:00pm Exhibition walk-through with Jon Bird, eminent Golub scholar and author of Leon Golub: Echoes of the Real.
Thursday, May 6, 6:30pm Panel discussion with Samm Kunce, Leon Golub’s studio assistant; Robert Storr, artist/critic, and Dean of the School of Art at Yale University; Susan Harris, independent curator and writer; and Douglas Dreishpoon, Chief Curator of The Albright Knox Art Gallery will share their personal experiences with the artist, and discuss a specific drawing from the exhibition as it relates to his or her own relationship with Golub. Moderated by Brett Littman.
Saturday, May 8, 2:00pm New York Gallery Weekend exhibition walk-through with Brett Littman.
PUBLICATION To accompany the exhibition, The Drawing Center will publish a 120-page volume including over 50 color plates and featuring essays by Brett Littman, Executive Director of The Drawing Center and Eduardo Cadava, author and professor of English at Princeton University. Available to order now.
CREDITS Leon Golub: Live & Die Like a Lion? is made possible by the National Endowment for the Arts and The Dedalus Foundation.
Additional funding for the publication has been provided by Frayda and Ronald Feldman, Harriet and Ulrich Meyer, and Caroline Shapiro and Peter Frey