Friday, July 30, 2004

Leon Golub's Disasters of War

"Disappear You" (2001) by Leon Golub

Maureen Clare Murphy writes in The Electronic Intifada:
When I saw the images of Iraqi prisoners being humiliated by U.S. troops in Abu Ghraib, I felt as though I had already visually experienced it in the visceral work of American artist Leon Golub. In the brutal imagery of Golub’s paintings, all too familiar figures appear: gun-toting mercenaries delight in the misery of those they torture; dogs snarl and threaten boxed-in prisoners. The painting “The Black Does Not Stop the Killing,” in which a pistol-wielding military man grabbing the arm of an unseen figure is partially blocked out by black paint, reminds us that media blackouts and ignorance of international affairs don’t mean that such violence ceases to exist. ("Pictures of War: Conflicts and Dates May Change, But the Imagery and Inhumanity Stay the Same," 20 May 2004)

"Interrogation" (1981) by Leon Golub

"The Black Does Not Interrupt The Killing" (2002) by Leon Golub
"I'm not going to change our country. . . . I'm not trying to influence people as much as trying to make a record. I like the notion of reportage. I hope that in 50 or 100 years from now my work will still be telling a record of what Americans were doing in terms of force, domination, world interest. It's not a large part of history, but it's a crucial part." -- Leon Golub, qtd. in Edward J. Sozanski, "The Killing Feel," The Philadelphia Inquirer, 14 June 2004

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