Leon Golub

Leon Golub

Museo Tamayo

Portrait of Leon Golub. © David Reynolds.

September 19, 2015

Leon Golub
Bite Your Tongue

September 12, 2015–February 7, 2016

Museo Tamayo
Paseo de la Reforma 51
Bosque de Chapultepec
11580 Mexico City

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Museo Tamayo is pleased to announce the exhibition Bite Your Tongue by Leon Golub, curated by Emma Enderby and presented in collaboration with Serpentine Galleries, London.

Leon Golub: Bite Your Tongue, the first retrospective by the Chicago figurative painter to be held in Mexico, showcases around 40 drawings and large-scale paintings spanning his artistic career, from the 1950s to his death in 2004.
Born in Chicago in 1922, the “Chicago Imagist,” as he was later labeled, began painting in the figurative style in the early 1950s, working as a core member of the post-war artists group known as Monster Roster. Like several of the members of this group, he served in World War II and, upon his return, joined the Art Institute of Chicago through the GI Bill. During a time when abstraction was hailed as the future of contemporary painting, the group created works rooted in the visible world, placing the human figure at the centre of contemporary events.
Golub’s earlier paintings, mostly corresponding to a period when he lived in France, depict universal images of man and reference the classical figures of antiquity. Upon his return in the late 1960s, and through to the 1990s, however, his subject matter began to be rooted more and more in the present, beginning with a series on Vietnam, then Napalm, and then on mercenaries, with the artist becoming increasingly critical of American interventionism and the rise of U.S. paramilitary soldiers in Central and South America. It is in this period, from the late ’60s to the late ’80s, that his fascination for the Mexican muralists is most evident, as well as his belief that art has an obligation to respond to the collective experiences of its own time. His works from the mid- to late ’90s reincorporate mythical figures such as Prometheus, combining them graffiti, text, and slogans into intensely urban and dystopian scenes. In spite of the wide range of pictorial and literary motifs in his oeuvre, Golub’s work always remained profoundly psychological and emotive, monumental in scale, and consistent in its focus on themes of oppression, violence, and the misuse of power.

The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue with images of the works by Leon Golub, as well as texts by Julia Peyton Jones, Hans Ulrich Orbist, Emma Enderby, Julie Ault and artists like Kiki Smith, Hans Hacke, and Oscar Murillo, amongst others.

Alongside the exhibition Leon Golub: Bite Your Tongue, there will be public programming including a conference, guided tours, film series, workshops, and other related activities.

Museo Tamayo thanks the contribution of the patrons of Fundacion Olga y Rufino Tamayo as well as the corporate sponsorships of Bloomberg Philantropy, Grupo Habita and Travesías Media.

For press inquiries, please contact: prensa [​at​] museotamayo.org 

About Museo Tamayo
Founded in 1981 by the artist Rufino Tamayo, Museo Tamayo is devoted to presenting exhibitions of international contemporary art and its collection of modern and contemporary art in order to enrich the aesthetic experience and encourage critical sense of its audiences. Since 1986 it has been a public museum, member of the National Museum Network of the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes (National Institute of Fine Arts) and, since 1989, has received additional support from Fundacion Olga y Rufino Tamayo.

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September 19, 2015

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