Leon Golub lived between 1922 and 2004. He was a well known American painter whose paintings and portraits depicted and exposed historical events in Africa and Central America. His paintings were in form of narratives which vividly captured events happening in the real world. The paintings mainly expressed realities of power in terms of the relations between social and political spheres.
Most of his portraits were largely featured in the daily newspapers as well as weekly magazines. His paintings were inspired by major faces of individuals whose names were featured in daily news and events.
With the help of his paintings, Golub argued that the relationship between identity and masculinity with power and dominance is a direct one (The Irish museum of modern art para.1). In the 1980s, Golub created a Mercenaries Series which portrayed major historical conflicts in power and leadership.
This essay entails an analysis of personal views on museum curators exhibited Leon Golub: Historical witness. In addition, essay takes into consideration the mercenaries series in an effort to explore Golub response to the crisis which occurred in Central America and Africa in 1980s.
Golub’s approach to paintings is almost real. Having witnessed the Second World War, his paintings carry with them a historical narration. Bird (16) considers work of art from a classical point of view. He argues that past experiences influence a work of art.
Golub’s paintings clearly depict past experiences through conflicts and manly aggression which are compelled in his images. As a historic artist and painter, Golub is intensely alert of the past history to his own descriptions and symbolism (The Irish museum of modern art para.3).
Museum curators are selected in Golub’s paintings for exhibition because of their significance throughout history. The paintings are chronologically organized in a special way such that they can be traced to a single point in time making them suitable for the archives.
Considering the fact that most of his work revolves around political power along with the habitual exploitation of power through brutality, Golub is able to portray the tyranny and lust for power that took place in the period of neo-colonialism. This is mainly attained via consideration of African history.
His paintings were not portrayed as a secluded inhuman phenomenon but rather as an expression of well thought-out, frequently state-sponsored, repression and violence (The Irish museum of modern art para.5). In his series of Vietnam and mercenaries, the contrast in relationship between black and white soldiers is clearly illustrated. It depicts the racial discrimination that took during the civil in the United States.
The Mercenary Series have had a major significance to the history of the political systems of Africa and Central America at large. Golub’s contribution through artistic paintings provides viable information towards the chronological development of politics in the two continents over the years.
Currently, numerous traditional references ranging from the early artistic work resurface throughout paintings of modern days. Other themes which are still prevailing relate to power, position of man in society and mortality. This means that Leon Golub still remains a model in contemporary society in terms of creating a history through painting as well as painting people who feature in the news and events by vividly describing the relationship that exists between them and their political roles.
Bird, John. Leon Golub: Echoes of the real. London: Reaktion Books Ltd, 2001. Print.
The Irish Museum of Modern Art. Leon Golub exhibition at the Irish museum of modern art. 2000. Web. 17 Aug. 2010.