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Happy Birthday to Leon Golub

JANUARY 23, 2007
Leon Golub "White Squad II" 1982, acrylic on linen
There are three art birthdays today that I know of:
• Leon Golub
• Georg Baselitz
• Édouard Manet
These gentleman are a trio of heavy hitters in the World Series of art. In my book, Manet hits clean-up but the steady drum beat of Golub always sets the ball in motion. Baselitz beat out the throw to first and is itching to steal second base. That's the way it is.

In light of Drawger's recent preoccupation with issues in the political arena, I hold up for your inspection Mr. Golub who passed away in 2004. His acidic, aggressive and agitated humanitarian paintings take the viewer deep into the bad news that permeates life. His scarred and scorching canvases spellbind us in a voyeuristic embrace that makes us feel disgust and sympathy with victims and perpetrators of unjustice equally through all epochs of human history.

In his last years, Golub's work turned inward and was often composed of a frantic collage of images and scrawled messages that surfaced from the dislocation we all feel when struggling to consciousness from the depths of a terrible dream. The voice, however inhuman, almost brutally stifled, rises above the din of the wind and crackling fire to bring the promise of hope and the call to "do something!" to me.
Topical: artist birthdays