Shoes, Cans, Clocks, Bricks… and Hoods

This article describes Philip Guston (1913-1980) as an “artist’s artist” whose “deceptively simple subjects and emphatic brush strokes” influenced many painters of our era.

… Part of the reason he is embraced by artists in the current moment is that he stood up to the bullies in the art world who wanted art to be a certain way — notably writers like Clement Greenberg… who thought that serious, modern painting should be abstract…

“I got sick and tired of all that Purity!” he said in a 1977 interview, referring to abstraction. “Wanted to tell Stories!”

Along with the return of figures and the hoods — now drawn in a crude, cartoonish fashion that shocked even his peers in the early ’70s — Guston continued to paint ordinary objects: shoes, cans, clocks and bricks that asserted both the materiality and everydayness of painting. The critic Harold Rosenberg called his later work “a liberation from detachment” — which is to say, it was unafraid to address messy politics, the body, failure, or the changes an artist goes through in his lifetime.

It seems worth noting that what shocked Guston’s peers in the ‘70s wasn’t what he drew, but how he drew it.

(Martha Schwendener, “Why Philip Guston Can Still Provoke Such Furor, and Passion,” NYTimes, 10-4-20)

(c) 2020 JMN

About JMN

I live in Texas and devote much of my time to easel painting on an amateur basis. I stream a lot of music, mostly jazz, throughout the day, and watch Netflix and Prime Video for entertainment. I like to read and memorize poetry.
This entry was posted in Commentary, Quotations and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.