Monday, July 10, 2023

"Philip Guston Now" at the National Gallery of Art

Painter's Table by Philip Guston (1973 photo: FLevy)

Sometimes a specific artist’s creed can be universally applied. Writing about "Painter's Table" (1973) Guston said “When you start working everybody is in your studio, the past, your friends, enemies, the art world and above all your own ideas…But as you continue painting they start leaving one by one and you are left completely alone.Then if you are lucky even you leave.” The painter's studio is itself one of the most cherished themes in the history of art. Velasquez’s "Las Meninas" presents a particularly complex rendering centering around the ideal viewer's relationship to the subjects of the painting. Matisse’s “The Red Studio,” recently the subject of a show at MoMA, revolutionized both his art and art itself—in his choice to blanket the more classically conceived underpainting as a statement about the primacy of color itself. In Guston’s case, "Painter's Table", completed well into the period of figuration that followed the controversial Marlborough show in l970, is a vade mecum which diplomatically negotiates his transition from abstraction to figuration—and one might say back to the his early impulse towards abstraction, a road which he actually never returned to again. NB this is the show which was bumped several years ago and now comes with "trigger" warnings. 

read Joan Baum's review of The Kafka Studies Department by Francis Levy

and watch the animation of Erotomania

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