New York

Leon Golub

Josh Baer Gallery

The synthesis of brutality and beauty in Gigantomachy IV, 1967, a large, roughly painted ensemble of classical nude male warriors closeted in the small back gallery of Leon Golub’s recent “Patriots” exhibition, animates his entire oeuvre. Indeed, these parallel worlds inform his ’90s patriots as much as they do the long line of thugs, mercenaries, assassins, soldiers, and interrogators from which they are descended. The characters change to reflect prevailing wars, crimes, and injustices, but the types portrayed remain more or less constant. Two of the patriots are working-class men, dressed in printed T-shirts boasting slogans that reflect the right-wing politics and red-blooded machismo that proliferated during the Persian Gulf War. One wears the image of an American bald eagle, captioned “These Colors Never Run,” and another, an American flag with the words “Try Burning This One. . .

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