“MUSA MAYER REFLECTS ON PAINTINGS BY FATHER PHILIP GUSTON AND THE LESSONS THAT ENDURE”

In an article for Cultured Magazine, Musa Mayer, the Guston Foundation’s President, discusses the online exhibition she curated for Hauser & Wirth and how she used her father’s experience for inspiration.  

BOTH, 1976. © THE ESTATE OF PHILIP GUSTON

“From my father, I learned by example that all of life, not only the satisfactions and joys, but also—or perhaps especially—the losses and tragedies, were fit subjects for art; that the injustice and cruelty of the world demand a response and that above all, art should be real—grounded in authentic expression, questioning and doubt.

I learned that asking deep questions, being honest with oneself and not turning away from that which is painful is a path for expanding experience. And I learned that navigating dreams, fears, memories—the full weight of the subconscious mind—can lead to fertile new territories ripe for exploration.”

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View the online exhibition

“Figuration to Abstraction and Back Again: How Philip Guston Shaped 20th-Century Painting”

Claire Selvin discusses Guston’s career and upcoming Hauser & Wirth exhibition in her article for ARTNews.

Lower Level, 1975, oil on canvas. © The Estate of Philip Guston

“Philip Guston is best known for his incisive, cartoonish paintings and drawings ranging in subject matter from everyday scenes to narrative political satires, particularly those of Richard Nixon. Guston’s work received varying degrees of critical praise throughout his lifetime, shifting as he changed course.” 

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Press Release for Website Launch

For Immediate Release

The Guston Foundation Launches In-Depth Website on Philip Guston’s Life and Work, Including Catalogue Raisonné with Images and Information for More Than 1,000 Paintings

This New Resource, Fully Accessible to Scholars and General Public Alike, Is Now Available Online; Additional Guston-Related Projects—First Retrospective Exhibition in a Generation and Publications on the Artist and His Legacy—Are Coming Soon

(Woodstock, NY, June 26, 2020)—The Guston Foundation, which is dedicated to the creative legacy of American artist Philip Guston, launched its website philipguston.org today, on the eve of his birthday, including a catalogue raisonné of all of the artist’s known paintings from across his five-decade career. This extensively illustrated resource—intended for scholars and the general public alike—provides an in-depth look at the life and work of Philip Guston (1913-1980), one of the 20th century’s most outstanding and influential artists. Read more

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Philip Guston Now, Exhibition Catalog Trailer

originally posted on nga.gov

Published to accompany the first retrospective museum exhibition of Guston’s art in 15 years—temporarily postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic—this book traces the unconventional path of this hugely important painter (1913–1980), whose constant aesthetic reinvention defies easy categorization.  

Incisive essays from leading art historians reveal Guston’s thematic influences and interests, while an authoritative, illustrated chronology shares many new discoveries about his life and work. We also hear from 10 of the most relevant artists of our day—including Glenn Ligon, Amy Sillman, Art Spiegelman, and Rirkrit Tiravanija—for whom Guston’s work has served as inspiration.

Featuring a magnificent array of color plates derived from exquisite new photographs of Guston’s paintings, this generously illustrated volume also highlights rarities including little-known cartoons drawn by Guston in his youth and intimate, previously unpublished photographs of his studio and painting materials.

Hardcover edition published in association D.A.P./Distributed Art Publishers, Inc. 280 pages, 278 illustrations

Major support for the international tour of the exhibition and the catalog is provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.

Philip Guston Now (Postponed)



The National Gallery of Art will present a major retrospective, Philip Guston Now, spanning the entirety of Guston’s career. The exhibition will feature some 125 paintings and 70 drawings, from public and private collections. Accompanying the retrospective will be a monograph featuring essays written by the co-curators, with an illustrated chronology of the artist’s life and career. 

Kaywin Feldman, Director of the Washington, D.C. museum, says “This exhibition will provide an in-depth look at the career that led to his iconic late paintings and will surely secure Guston’s place in the pantheon of modern art, while reassessing his impact on the art of the present.” 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Philip Guston Now will debut at the Tate Modern, early 2021.

Resilience: Philip Guston in 1971; Catalogue

On 5 January 2020, Resilience: Philip Guston in 1971 closed at Hauser & Wirth’s Los Angeles gallery. It was the first solo exhibition in his boyhood hometown of Los Angeles in over half a century. It documented the work of a single year in Guston’s life. The show was curated by the artist’s daughter, Musa Mayer who wrote an insightful essay offering a window into the artist’s state of mind during that year, primarily through his own words.  

“I see now how it feels to do something new and original.” – Philip Guston

Resilience: Philip Guston in 1971; Exhibition

Photo: Film still of Philip Guston in his Woodstock studio, summer 1971, from footage by Michael Blackwood Productions

Hauser & Wirth will present Resilience: Philip Guston in 1971, showcasing work from a crucial year of Philip Guston’s career. The solo exhibition, his first in Los Angeles in over 50 years, will feature works from both the Nixon drawings and the Roma paintings— two of his major series.

“These figurative paintings and narrative satirical drawings bear witness to an artist at the height of his powers, exquisitely responsive to his world,” says Musa Mayer, Guston’s daughter and curator of the exhibition.

Resilience: Philip Guston in 1971 will begin September 14, 2019 and will run through January 5, 2020.


National Gallery of Art Plans 2020 Traveling Philip Guston Retrospective

Philip Guston, Nude Philosopher in Space, 1935.
THE MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS, HOUSTON 
© THE ESTATE OF PHILIP GUSTON

Andrew Russeth discusses Philip Guston’s upcoming retrospective, Philip Guston Now, and the exhibition, Resilience: Philip Guston in 1971, in his article for ARTNEWS.

Philip Guston Now will display the evolution of Guston’s work. “You get to see big patterns emerging—toward color and away from color, prettier paintings and more difficult moments. It’s really epic—the swings, the scope,” says Harry Cooper, the NGA’s modern art chief curator and one of the co-curators on the show.

Guston’s daughter Musa Mayer says, “There’s a whole generation of art lovers and artists who haven’t had the chance to see the work in any depth,” but will now have the opportunity as approximately 125 paintings and 70 drawings will be shown.

Russeth mentions that this year’s Los Angeles exhibition Resilience: Philip Guston in 1971 “should serve as a strong aperitif for the retrospective.”

In Praise of Painting’s Ambiguity

In his Hyperallergic article, In Praise of Painting’s Ambiguity, writer and critic John Yau responds to an email he received following his review of artist Amy Bennett’s exhibition at Miles McEnery Gallery. 

In his article, he discusses Philip Guston’s rejection of abstraction throughout the late 1960s. During a lecture at the University of Minnesota in 1978, Guston said that he had grown tired of a certain ambiguity stemming from the late 40s and 50s.

“I think that probably the most potent desire for a painter, an image maker, is to see it. To see what the mind can think and imagine, to realize it for oneself, through oneself, as concretely as possible. I think that’s the most powerful and at the same time the most archaic urge that has endured for about twenty-five thousand years.” 

Yau explains that Guston viewed a painter as an image maker, and that an image could be abstract or representational coming from anything and anywhere. Like Bennett drawing inspiration from Thornton Wilder’s Our Town, she brings it to the present moment, all while keeping the painting open.