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I Paint What I Want to See: Philip Guston (Penguin Modern Classics)

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Guston is again someone you would like to invite for dinner and who would entertain and light up the evening with endless reflections and digressions about art. Not a review—Guston’s writings and talks are wonderful—but a note to alert the interested reader to the fact that everything in I Paint What I Want to See can be found in Philip Guston: Collected Writings, Lectures, and Conversations, published by the University of California Press in 2010 (this latter book also includes additional material, the editor’s selection of accompanying images, and an Introduction by Dore Ashton). The 103 third parties who use cookies on this service do so for their purposes of displaying and measuring personalized ads, generating audience insights, and developing and improving products. No criptic arty language but relatable and approachable writing about making a painting, this proves to me that's mostly art critics that makes art a difficult subject, for artist it all more simple.

Dialogues – with interlocutors like his friends Harold Rosenberg or Clark Coolidge, or with his students at Boston University or the Yale Summer School of Music and Art – allowed Guston to play out in a public forum the equivocations that informed the paintings made in the privacy of the studio. What I appreciate most, re-reading this stuff, is how he manages to hold that existential, post-war bleakness without becoming too heroic and romantic. Its lack of introduction or contextual detail, aside from Coolidge’s brief notes carried over from the previous publication, isolates Guston’s statements as aphorisms or nuggets of adaptable wisdom. Philip Guston (June 27, 1913 – June 7, 1980) was a painter and printmaker in the New York School, which included many of the abstract expressionists, such as Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning.

His declaration that ‘I think of my pictures as a kind of figuration’ is borne out in the works he was making at the time, many of which have matter-of-fact titles ( Table, Vessel, Branch, all 1960) that are worlds away from the highfalutin sublimity of those of his New York School peers. Got about halfway before losing interest due to it feeling repetitive caused by it being a collection of his interviews and talks. You can change your choices at any time by visiting Cookie preferences, as described in the Cookie notice. It felt weird hearing him describe the speed he could churn them out although that’s also part of why I chose it for the project, lol.

I am not crazy about Philip Guston's work (Philip Guston says that of Ronald Kitaj's work on page 211, Kitaj, whose work I am crazy about), I am not crazy about Guston's work, I mean, who am I to say this, but it is just that I find it crude (to use the words of Harold Rosenberg in this very book), and I generally struggle to connect with his paintings. Ofcourse, with Guston you're better off getting the Collected Writings, but I love these little white penguin classics. To calculate the overall star rating and percentage breakdown by star, we don’t use a simple average. His foregrounding of doubt – about what he was painting, which often shifted in the making, or what his own work was about, or what motivated him to do it at all – was what infused his late paintings with the ability to generate new ideas in the heads and hands of others. Whether the Guston myth (that he was quite so singular and in opposition to the art of his times) is entirely true, he definitely seems super-relevant to today.If you love art, or if you are an artist, if you love Guston’s work or even if you don’t like it so much, you will enjoy this book.

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