Volume 74, Number 50 | April 20 - 26 , 2005

Leon Golub is memorialized at Cooper’s Great Hall

By Aman Singh

A tribute to the late political painter Leon Golub was held last Sunday in Cooper Union’s Great Hall. The historic hall was filled with a large crowd for the tribute, which was “a love fest for Leon,” in the words of Cooper Union’s David Reynolds, a friend who assisted Golub in his studio. A political activist in the early 1980s, Golub was a resident of Lower Manhattan, where he lived with his wife, Nancy Spero. He died Aug. 8, 2004, at age 82.

His work is on display in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Whitney Museum of American Art and the Tate Gallery in London.

Among the more than 1,000 invitees were eminent art critics and fellow artists from around the globe. Robert Storr, a faculty member of New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts, and critic Kiki Smith spoke at the event, along with Hans Haacke, Jon Bird, Phong Bui, Declan McGonagle, Calyton Eshleman, Samm Kunce and Hans Ulrich-Obrist.

At the memorial, Tribeca filmmaker Charlie Ahearn screened his biographical film, “Leon Golub — To the Dogs.” Another film on Golub’s art, “The Late Works Are the Catastrophes,” by Kartemquin Films, was also shown.

“All the speakers spoke endearingly about Leon’s work, their relation with him, besides acknowledging his contributions to the political and cultural scenes in Manhattan,” said Reynolds.

Besides the speakers, Golub’s wife, Nancy Spero, along with his three sons Stephen, Philip and Paul, were also present. Spero thanked the speakers and talked about how Leon’s and her lives were inseparable and that he had truly devoted his entire life to political organizing and artistically presenting his vision to New York City. The couple’s studios were located adjacent to each other in Greenwich Village on LaGuardia Pl.

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