Philip Guston Now

Cooper, Harry, Mark Godfrey, Alison de Lima Greene, and Kate Nesin. Philip Guston Now. Exh. cat. Washington D.C.: National Gallery of Art, 2020.

One year ago, the National Gallery of Art announced an updated schedule for the Philip Guston retrospective. All of the original museums have affirmed their continued involvement and enthusiasm to show the entire scope of Guston’s 50 year career. 

This major exhibition will be initiated at MFA Boston at the beginning of May—not so very long to wait! Here are all the dates: 

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, May 1, 2022 – September 11, 2022
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, October 23, 2022 – January 15, 2023
National Gallery of Art, Washington, February 26, 2023 – August 27, 2023
Tate Modern, October 3, 2023 – February 25, 2024

Philip Guston: On Edge

Fri 10 Sep 2021, 10 am – 4.30 pm
Livestreamed at hauserwirth.com

Pittore, 1973 Oil on canvas 184.8 x 204.5 cm / 72 3/4 x 80 1/2 in Private Collection © The Estate of Philip Guston, courtesy Hauser & Wirth Photo: Genevieve Hanson

On the occasion of ‘Philip Guston, 1969-1979’ at Hauser & Wirth’s Chelsea gallery at 542 West 22nd Street, please join us for a special live streamed symposium to celebrate and discuss the work, life, and legacy of Philip Guston, one of the most significant painters of the twentieth century. 

The artistic liberation Guston maintained throughout his career in the face of criticism serves as inspiration for our symposium. To inspire discussion, the symposium brings together an influential group of academics, visual artists, and visionaries who will offer valuable insights throughout the day. 

Through a combination of panels, scholarly lectures, and individual artist responses, ‘Philip Guston: On Edge’ offers new analyses into the artist and his practice.

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Hauser & Wirth Announce Upcoming Philip Guston Show

Back View II, 1978

Philip Guston, 1969-1979

Beginning 9 September 2021, Hauser & Wirth New York will present ‘Philip Guston, 1969-1979’, an exhibition focused on the breakthrough figuration that emerged in the final decade of the 20th century master’s career. Including paintings never before exhibited, this show brings together masterworks after Guston had turned his back on abstraction to assert an unprecedented new figuration. While the critics denounced his dramatic shift toward dark, cartoon-like imagery, the paintings of Guston’s last years are today considered milestones of modern art. These works display not only an exquisite technical mastery, but uncompromising courage in addressing directly the injustices of American society that he’d witnessed since boyhood. Made at the height of his artistic powers, the paintings on view attest to Guston’s enduring influence and astonishing relevance to artists and the general public now.

Including masterworks on loan from museums and private collections, ‘Philip Guston, 1969-1979’ will remain on view through 30 October at Hauser & Wirth’s West 22nd Street building in the Chelsea Arts district.

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“Q&A | Philip Guston’s daughter Musa Mayer on her new book and the uproar surrounding the artist’s postponed show”

Musa Mayer, President of The Guston Foundation spoke with Gareth Harris at The Arts Newspaper about her new book Philip Guston published by Laurence King.

“My small volume is intended as an affordable and concise introduction to the life and work of Philip Guston, with limited, although accurate, text and an abundance of high-quality images. The goal is to offer a sense of Guston’s whole life as it unfolded, as well as the full 50-year scope of his work.”

Read the interview →

Continued Reading on the Postponed Philip Guston Now Retrospective

Atheneum Review – Julia Friedman 11/16

Vox by Constance Grady 11/18

The Art Newspaper by Gareth Harris 11/20

BC Heights by Emily Kraus 11/25

Culture by Shirley Li 11/28

Mosaic Magazine by Menachem Wicker 12/8

Forward by Linda Matchan 12/9

The Washington Post by Sebastian Smee 12/9

The New York Times by Holland Cotter 12/12

artnet by Eileen Kinsella 12/31

Reason by Ronald Bailey 1/1

ARTFORUM by Robert Slifkin 1/1

ARTFORUM by Dan Nadel 1/1

ARTFORUM by Sarah Rich 1/1

ARTFORUM by Chris Ofili 1/1

ARTFORUM by Trenton Doyle Hancock 1/1

Boston Globe by Murray Whyte 1/6

The Washington Post by Sebastian Smee 1/14

The New York Review of Books by Susan Tallman 1/14

artnet by Pac Probric 1/20

The Art Newspaper by Nancy Kenney 2/1

Statement by Musa Mayer on the Updated Schedule for the Philip Guston retrospective

With regard to the postponed Philip Guston Now retrospective, there has been real progress in conversations with the directors of the four host museums over the past few weeks. Assurances have been made to me, as the daughter of the artist and President of The Guston Foundation about the importance of sharing with the public the full sweep of Guston’s vision in ways that speak to us all in the present day.

While Philip Guston did indeed address racism at key points in his career, his condemnation of social injustice and violence encompassed examples as varied as the Holocaust, the Spanish Civil War, the horrors of the Inquisition, the calumny of the Nixon administration, and police brutality against anti-war demonstrators in 1968. I believe it is essential for the exhibition to contextualize the depth of my father’s social conscience, allowing the hooded figures and other imagery to reclaim their meaning, including but also moving beyond specific references to the Ku Klux Klan. Over his 50-year career, Guston’s art reflected many other personal and painterly dimensions, including works that show his love of Renaissance painting and the 20th century masters he revered, his celebration of the act of painting in itself, and the confessional intimacy and self-revelation of his late works, with their universal human themes. 

What we need now, as so many have pointed out, is to actually see Philip Guston’s paintings and drawings in all their complexity, without reductive characterizations. So, I am cautiously optimistic that we will all have a chance to do just that, beginning in May of 2022 at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston. I thank all those who have expressed such enthusiasm for my father’s work and have called for Philip Guston Now to go forward. Your support has sustained me during a difficult time. I hope to join you in celebrating the retrospective when it opens. 

New Schedule for Philip Guston Now Announced

A Reading List on the Postponed Philip Guston Now Retrospective

National Gallery of Art  Statement 

The New York Times by Julia Jacobs  9/24

ARTNews by Alex Greenberger 9/24

The Art Newspaper by Robert Storr  9/24

The Art Newspaper by Gareth Harris 9/25

The Washington Post by Peggy McGlone 9/25

The New York Times by Julia Jacobs, Jason Farago 9/25

The Observer by Helen Holmes 9/25

Berkshire Fine Arts by Charles Giuliano 9/26

Glasstire by Christopher Blay 9/27

The Article by David Herman 9/27

The Guardian by Edward Helmore 9/27

The Washington Post by Sebastian Smee 9/27

artnet by Tim Schneider 9/28

ARTNews by Alex Greenberger 9/28

The Art Newspaper by Ben Luke 9/28

The Guardian by Aindrea Emelife 9/28

Smithsonian Magazine by Isis Davis-Marks 9/29

Washingtonian by Mimi Montgomery 9/29

Brooklyn Rail Open Letter 9/30

The New York Times by Jason Farago 9/30

The Times UK by David Aaronovitch 9/30

Wall Street Journal by Eric Gibson 9/30

Wall Street Journal by Eric Gibson 9/30

ARTFORUM 9/30

CNN by Oscar Holland 10/1

CNN by Oscar Holland 10/1

Daily News by Theresa Braine 10/1

The Telegraph by Chris Harvey 10/1

Vulture by Jerry Saltz 10/1

Hyperallergic by Hraj Vartanian (podcast) 10/1

The Washington Post by Sebastian Smee 10/1

ArtReview by J.J. Charlesworth 10/2

Frieze Opinion by Terence Trouillot 10/2

The New York Times by Margaret Schwendener 10/3

Artlyst by David Anfam and Paul Carter Robinson 10/6

artnet by Julia Halperin 10/6

The Washington Post by Peggy McGlone 10/7

The Washington Post by Peggy McGlone and Sebastian Smee 10/12

The New Yorker by Peter Schjeldahl 10/19

artnet by Ben Davis 10/15

The Washington Post by Sebastian Smee 10/16

TexasMonthly by Michael Agresta 10/20

All Things Considered, by Emma Jacobs 10/25

The Nation by by Barry Schwabsky 10/30

National Gallery of Art – Updated Schedule 11/5

Washington Post – Peggy McGlone 11/5

Artnet News – Sarah Cascone 11/5

The Art Newspaper – Nancy Kenney 11/6

The Art Newspaper – Ben Luke. 11/6

The Critic by Michael Prodger 11/11

Philip Guston Now Exhibition Update

Message from Sally Radic, Executive Director of The Guston Foundation:

On September 21, the directors of the four museums that have been planning to present the major retrospective Philip Guston Now in 2021-22 announced online that they will “postpone the exhibition until a time at which we think that the powerful message of social and racial justice that is at the center of Philip Guston’s work can be more clearly interpreted.” The opening date for the “reframed” and “reconsidered” project is to be set for sometime in 2024. The exhibition has already been postponed once, by almost a year, because of the coronavirus pandemic. Its catalogue was already published this past June.  

Reactions to the announcement have appeared extensively in media outlets and on social media.

We share with you below a statement from Musa Mayer, President of The Guston Foundation and daughter of Philip Guston, that was written in response to media requests for comment. We have also provided links to coverage at a number of publications, including news reports as well as opinion articles. 

As always, the Foundation is committed to raising awareness and educating the public about the art and life of Philip Guston, and we will continue to share information through this website and other projects, and to encourage the direct experience of Guston’s art, to further these goals.

Statement from Musa Mayer

September 23, 2020

I am deeply saddened by the decision of the museum directors not to exhibit the Philip Guston Now retrospective.

Half a century ago, my father made a body of work that shocked the art world. Not only had he violated the canon of what a noted abstract artist should be painting at a time of particularly doctrinaire art criticism, but he dared to hold up a mirror to white America, exposing the banality of evil and the systemic racism we are still struggling to confront today. 

In these paintings, cartoonish hooded figures evoke the Ku Klux Klan. They plan, they plot, they ride around in cars smoking cigars. We never see their acts of hatred. We never know what is in their minds. But it is clear that they are us. Our denial, our concealment. They are even the artist, as the most well-known work of this series makes clear. My father dared to unveil white culpability, our shared role in allowing the racist terror that he had witnessed since boyhood, when the Klan marched openly by the thousands in the streets of Los Angeles. As poor Jewish immigrants, his family fled extermination in the Ukraine. He understood what hatred was. It was the subject of his earliest works. 

This should be a time of reckoning, of dialogue. These paintings meet the moment we are in today. The danger is not in looking at Philip Guston’s work, but in looking away. 

The superb retrospective catalogue, with its essays by the four curators, will remain as the only evidence of their years of insightful work to allow the entire scope of my father’s career to be seen by a new generation of art lovers. The Guston Foundation’s newly launched website, PhilipGuston.org, and the just-released major monograph “Philip Guston: A Life Spent Painting” by Robert Storr make major contributions to the artist’s legacy. But nothing can fully substitute for seeing the works themselves. 

Musa Mayer

“Philip Guston’s 1970s Paintings Might Help You Cope Today”

In a new article from Vulture, Hilary Reid speaks to Musa Mayer about curating What EnduresHauser & Wirth’s latest online exhibition.

Untitled, 1971. © The Estate of Philip Guston

In the exhibition text for “What Endures,” you wrote that you were thinking about the “coinciding crises in America now” and how your father’s work spoke to this moment. What is it about the pieces in the show that you felt spoke to this moment?  

I always knew that my father was dealing in his work with the pain that he felt so acutely — of the world. That was evident in his very earliest works when he was portraying the horrible cruelty of the Ku Klux Klan, who were marching by the thousands still in the streets of Los Angeles; he witnessed it as a young man. That sense of social injustice and suffering never really left him, and it was always present in his work. I guess it emerged most strongly in the works that were shown at Marlborough Gallery in 1970 that were so controversial, where, after a long sojourn as an abstract painter, he returned to figuration with these really complicated and thoughtful works that were denounced as being crude and cartoonish at the time. Those works will be very much a focus in the upcoming retrospective at the Tate Modern, and I’ve focused in earlier shows on the Nixon drawings and on the works my father did in the years right after the hooded Ku Klux Klan figures. But for this exhibition, it’s sort of a step beyond. It asks, “How did he cope? How did the things that tormented him both in his personal life and the world outside find expression in his work? How was he able to transform them? What were his sources of renewal in the process?”When Hauser & Wirth asked me to curate an online show, though, I was thinking about how it must have been for my father to be working in isolation — registering all that was going on in the world not only in the ’60s but in the ’70s, when the war in Vietnam was still raging, when Nixon was in office, Watergate. All the turmoil, the assassinations that had happened not long before. I thought he was working with the burden of that societal pain. He was famously quoted in response to a New York Post reporter who had been talking about the change in his work. My father said, “What kind of a man am I, sitting at home, reading magazines, going into a frustrated fury about everything — and then going home to adjust a red to a blue?” That was sort of a key moment, not so much of his wanting to reject abstract painting, because I think what he learned from his own process as an abstract painter was so crucial to what came next, but to delve that deeply into the process of his working.

Read the full interview →

View the online exhibition→