Leon Golub: Raw Nerve at The Met Breuer, February 6 – May 27, 2018

“The occasion for this selective survey of Leon Golub’s work is the recent gift of two paintings, Gigantomachy II (1966) and Vietnamese Head (1970), to The Met. Born in Chicago, Golub (1922 – 2004) occupies a singular position in the history of mid to late twentieth-century art. His practice is characterized by a devotion to the figure, an embrace of expressionism, the fusion of modern and classical sources, and a commitment to social justice. The exhibition features highlights from the artist’s long, distinguished career, including monumental paintings from many of his most important series as well as intimate prints and drawings, many of which strike a delicate balance between eroticism and violence, life and mortality. Together, these objects not only attest to Golub’s incisive perspective on the catastrophes that afflict human civilization but also demonstrate his sustained critique of brutality and belligerent masculinity.

Golub’s work is of profound relevance today. His unflinching portrayals of power and violence have much to teach us in the twenty-first century, as does his belief in the ethical responsibility of the artist. A consummate student of art history and a frequent visitor to the Museum’s collections, Golub makes an ideal subject for an exhibition at The Met.” — Introductory Wall Text

Photographs by Corrado Serra.

Leon Golub. (American, Chicago 1922–2004). New York Gigantomachy II, 1966.  Gift of The Nancy Spero and Leon Golub Foundation for the Arts and Stephen, Philip, and Paul Golub, 2016

Installation view of section “The Artist as Art Historian”

Facings: Black Men – Black Women, 1988. Intended gift of Jon Bird

Installation view of section “Power and Masculinity”

Left: Abraham Lincoln, 1957. Ulrich Meyer and Harriet Horwitz Meyer Collection. Right: Philosopher I, 1957. Ulrich Meyer and Harriet Horwitz Meyer Collection 1957

Portraits of General Ernesto Geisel, 1977. Intended gifts of Jon Bird

Left: New York Horsing Around IV, 1983. Ulrich Meyer and Harriet Horwitz Meyer Collection. Right: White Squad VIII, 1985. Ulrich Meyer and Harriet Horwitz Meyer Collection

Left: The Dead Bird II, 1955. Intended gift of Jon Bird. Center: Tête De Cheval II, 1963. The Estate of Leon Golub, courtesy of Hauser and Wirth. Right: Pylon V (Napalm Gate Fragment), The Estate of Leon Golub, courtesy of Hauser and Wirth

Installation view of section “Mob Mentality”

The Conversation, 1990. Ulrich Meyer and Harriet Horwitz Meyer Collection

Two Black Women and a White Man, 1986. Courtesy Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York

Installation view of section “Late Style”

All Bets are Off, 1994. Intended gift of Jon Bird

Bite Your Tongue, 2001. The Estate of Leon Golub, courtesy of Hauser and Wirth

Leon Golub: Raw Nerve is organized by Kelly Baum, Cynthia Hazen Polsky and Leon Polsky Curator of Contemporary Art in The Met’s Department of Modern and Contemporary Art.