Behind the Scenes: Leonard Baskin

A black and white woodcut print of a man holding a dove to the right of the image. The dove may be dead. The print is made of multiple black and grey lines
Man of Peace, 1952, Woodcut, Collection of Kenneth Shure and Liv Rockefeller, © The Estate of Leonard Baskin

This upcoming exhibition, opening this Saturday, April 16 in the Crosman Gallery, focuses on the monumental prints made between 1954 and 1998 by writer, teacher, sculptor, printmaker, book designer, calligrapher, and illustrator Leonard Baskin.

The dark side of humanity is the subject matter of Baskin’s monumental woodcuts, in which carnivorous birds and predatory humans merge into universal symbols of degradation and despair. His nearly life-size figures appear to cry out against nuclear war, lynching, and the Nazi genocide of the Jews. His Holocaust series of six monumental prints, conceived toward the end of his career, is starkly nightmarish. Hebrew inscriptions integrated into his compositions give meaning to imagery that is sometimes ambiguous and complex, often referencing classical and biblical sources rather than the vernacular of the time they were created.

Join us in the galleries beginning Saturday, April 16, to explore this fascinating exhibition!

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