Jean duBuffet

Honolulu Museum of Art

Docent researcher: Marcy Katz 1. Biodata a. Dates: 1922-2004 b. Place of Birth: Chicago c. Residence: NYC until his death d. Education: a Ba University of Chicago 1942, BFA, MFA Art Institute of Chicago 1949, and 1950 e. Married and collaborated with artist Nancy Spero )1926-2009) f. Shows/Galleries: many worldwide including being part of a show called Black Male: Representations of Masculinity in Contemporary American Art at the Whitney Museum in 1994 by Marcy Katz 2. Media/Techniques a. Media: acrylic painting, large canvas, scraping layers of paint with a meat cleaver b. Techniques Employed: always figurative, very large. He scraped the canvas with a meat cleaver. His figures make eye contact with you, drawing you into the scene and making it impossible for you to distance yourself from what is happening before you. 3. Philosophical Information a. Influences (historical and personal):drew from ancient Greek and Roman sculpture, Etruscan art, photos of atheletes, mass media images and gay pornography. Also, Eric Auerbach’s book Mimesis was an influence on his subject matter His early association with other painters in a Chicago group called Monster Roster informed his work for the rest of his life. This creed was that painted images must reflect actual events if it was to be relevant to the society who viewed the work. b. Expressive qualities (realistic, naturalistic, etc): he layered his paint and scraped through it, likening it to sculptural techniques of depth and dimension. His canvases were large, unstretched and hung by grommets on hooks. This enhanced the raw nature of the subject matter. c. Subject Matter: He addressed issues of sexual and political power and violence, potential sadomaschicism and psychopathic behavior thorough the use of military scenes and situations. He wants to show “us how far the militarization of man can go toward turning individuals into psychopaths and sociopaths-toward creating “’the man of “”ready violence,’ unburdened by compassion, who advocates ‘wanton destruction.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leon_Golub “In the 1980s Golub turned his attention to terrorism in a variety of forms, from the subversive operations of governments to urban street violence. Killing fields, torture chambers, bars, and brothels became inspiration and subject for work that dealt with such themes as violent aggression, racial inequality, gender ambiguity, oppression, and exclusion. Among the work produced in this period are the series Mercenaries, Interrogation, Riot, and Horsing Around.” d. Content: Golub worked in series, appropriate for the current times. During the Viet Nam war he painted two: Napalm and Vietnam in the late 70-‘s after a particularly dry period, he produced many portraits of public figures who were dictators, religious figures among them Nelson Rockafeller, Ho Chi Minh, Fidel Castro, Francisco Franco, Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger in the 1990’s he incorporated Graffiti and text in his work, as well as addressing issues of loss, separation and death in his work as he aged. Many symbols of these issues were used in his work e. Other: for 5 years, from 1959-64 they lived abroad in Europe where Italian and French art affected and effected their styles, the subject matter and the very size of their work. He designed one glass commission for Temple Sholom in Chicago in 1996. 4. Anecdotal Information and Quotations: Golub: (June 2001) Too many people have a sort of protective attitude about art. You know, Don't touch. It's valuable. I'm trying to be more in your face, like when you walk down the street and suddenly you encounter a situation. I'm trying to invite you into scenes where you might not want to be invited in. (2000) If I had to give a description of my work I would say it's a definition of how power is demonstrated through the body and in human actions, and in our time, how power and stress and political and industrial powers are shown. “Everybody knows artists don't change society, but that's too easy a way to put lt, Artists are part of the information process. If artists only make cubes, then what the world knows of art will be cubes. lf there are artists who are doing other subject matters,, these start to enter into differential dialogues regarding the nature of art and circumstance. It may not change the world, but the contexts and operations of art shift. Art becomes part of the context of experience in unexpected ways. Visual history is important in providing a record of what is going on.” Lean Golub, and Hans Haacke, "What Makes Art Political?" Arts Magazine April 1984 5. References (books/Magazines, Internet http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leon_Golub Culture of Violence, University Gallery University of Massachusetts Amherst 2002 Confrontations- Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 1984
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