Wednesday, February 16, 2011

philip guston: free agent

My review of Philip Guston: Roma at the Phillips Collection is in this week's WCP.

Read the piece here.

Following his very poorly received show at Marlborough Gallery in 1970 (Hilton Kramer's scathing review was titled "A Mandarin Pretending to Be a Stumblebum"), Guston and his wife Musa McKim accepted an invitation to get the heck out of town, staying at the American Academy in Rome for about seven months, from around Halloween 1970 to May of 1971.

During that time, Guston completed a series of pinkish-hued works on paper, panel, and canvas that proved a compelling mix of reflections on local gardens, ruins, and architecture; Italian painting from the 14th century to the 20th; and the strange, radically altered state of his own painting practice.

Below is a
video from the NGA about Guston's transformation. It features Willem deKooning's great comment re: other AbExers feeling that Guston had betrayed them: "What do they think, we're all in a baseball team?"

(If the video player doesn't appear, try this link.)

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