Philip Guston, a much-needed retrospective

Philip Guston, a much-needed retrospective

Philip Guston, a much-needed retrospective From May 1 to September 11, 2022, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston presents “Philip Guston Now”, the major Philip Guston retrospective whose postponement in 2020 provoked great controversy within the art world. Image: Philip Guston, “Painting, Smoking, Eating”, 1973. Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. © The Estate of Philip Guston, courtesy of Hauser & Wirth. Originally scheduled to open in June 2020, “Philip Guston Now” was postponed following the murder of George Floyd in May 2020. Several of Guston’s paintings depict, rather cartoonishly and in no way apologetically, hooded Ku Klux Klan-like figures, and the fear that these paintings would be misinterpreted at a time when social protests were spreading across the United States led to the exhibition’s postponement, a decision that was strongly criticised by artists and academics. Guston’s daughter pointed out in an interview that the paintings, far from defending white supremacy, “were about white culpability”, including that of the artist himself. “Presenting Philip Guston’s work means acknowledging where we find ourselves in this moment — as a museum respecting the past and reaching for the future. We have thought deeply about what it means to present Guston’s paintings while respecting both the context in which they were made and their meaning for audiences today,” explained Matthew Teitelbaum, the museum’s director. “The exhibition has significantly evolved over the last year, with a more diversified approach to interpretation, more historical references and inclusion of more artists’ perspectives, led by an expanded curatorial team and guided by many voices — all of whom have helped us to create a fuller understanding of this great artist’s work.” Beyond controversy and misinterpretation, the exhibition traces the career of Guston, an artist who moved between abstraction and figuration, being one of the foremost figures of American Abstract Expressionism to, at his peak, abandon abstraction and turn to figurative painting. The works included range from his early figurative works such as “Gladiators” (1940, Museum of Modern Art, New York) or “If This Not Be I” (1945, Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Washington University in St. Louis), examples from his abstract period such as “Dial” (1956, Whitney Museum of American Art), and several works from his last period, such as “The Deluge” (1969, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston) or “Painting, Smoking, Eating” (1973. Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam). In addition to this exhibition, Philip Guston’s name is also topical in the art market. In two weeks’ time, Sotheby’s will auction “Nile” (1958), a work carrying a pre-sale estimate of between $20 million and $30 million, the highest ever assigned to a work by Philip Guston. #2022 #MFAMuseumofFineArtsBoston #PhillipGuston #theartwolf


Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
ART & the Art World (theartwolf)

ART magazine aimed to offer an original & independent point of view about the Art World ▷ Its news, events, protagonists, glories and miseries.