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New Museum: Peter Saul "Crime and Punishment"

“Crime and Punishment” extends Peter Saul’s critical stare at American history and its notorious criminals such as John Wayne Gacy and Presidents such as George W. Bush and Donald Trump.  Saul puts his own twist on historical US moments like Washington crossing the Delaware and Custer’s Last Stand by shedding a more satirical and repulsing light.  Pairing a controversial history with a caustic sense of humor brings forth the opportunity to show more unfavorable, but accurate depictions of events and people.


Peter Saul’s work bridges together historical artists such as Salvador Dali and Francisco Goya with more contemporary Chicago street style like Henry Who.  Saul’s blend of surrealism with bright bold colors and caricature figures put him ahead of his time when he first began in the 1960s.  Many new young artists find inspiration and mentorship in Saul’s work and his influence is seen across mediums.  


Peter Saul was born in 1934 in San Francisco, CA. He received a BFA from the School of Fine Arts at Washington University in St. Louis in 1956.  His work has been included in important group exhibitions including “Artists Respond: American Art and the Vietnam War, 1965–1975,” Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC (2019); “Les années Pop, 1956–1968,” Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (2001); Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1995) to name a select few.  He currently lives in New York.

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