Mittwoch, 3. April 2013, 19:00 Uhr
«GOLUB» 1988. USA. Jerry Blumenthal and Gordon Quinn. 56 min.
«NANCY SPERO: AN INTERVIEW» 1982. USA. Lyn Blumenthal and Kate Horsfield. 35 min.
Jerry Blumenthal and Gordon Quinn’s Golub makes the case for painting’s role as a direct po- litical art form through the personage of Leon Golub and his transposing of global brutalities to museum audiences. The inevitable comparisons to Goya come early in the film, with news broadcasts of 1980s-era South African Apartheid and Central American Contra violence standing in for our more contemporary Inquisitions. Golub remains implacable in the film—his task as he sees it is to speak truth to power, and his language is painting. Golub follows the development of his largest and most imposing series depicting mercenaries and torturers, but in Tell It To My Heart only the artist’s smallest and most diminutive paintings appear—each in the shape of a penis.
A third Golub work, a lithograph entitled The Brank (1984), is also included in the exhibition, and in its subject and style extends a reach to Nancy Spero within the galleries. Spero and Golub were collaborators and life partners, married in 1950, and often paired in public recognition of their concurrent activism, style, and gracious care for the art of others. In Spero’s interview, conducted by Lyn Blumenthal and Kate Horsefield in their founding Video Data Bank series, Spero speaks to the fundamental decision to allow political events to determine what she chose to paint and why. In response to the violence of the war in Vietnam and the global, Cold War threat of nuclear arms, Spero describes devel- oping a sexualized figurative vocabulary to vulgarize, rather than humanize, the destructive obscenity of war. From this war series, Spero discovered Antonin Artaud, and thus developed her Codex Artaud, in which she famously glued paper into scrolls and incorporated Artaud’s language with quoted text and cut-out figures, a work that became perhaps the signature of her practice.
Spero and Golub had a unique place in the factionalized 1980s New York art world, sustaining vibrantly engaged practices in a scene riven with competing agendas and freighted with politi- cal, philosophical, and market stakes. With their Chicago roots, and having spent the late 1950s and early 1960s living in Paris, the two were a bridge to an earlier generation of leftist politics for younger artists and writers, including Group Material.
– Jason Simon