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The Radical Strangeness of Philip Guston

Born Phillip Goldstein in Montreal, Philip Guston (1913–1980) grew up in California as the seventh child of Russian immigrants. An ambitious artist, he enacted almost every role available in the playbook of the American avant-garde: high-school dropout (along with his buddy Jackson Pollock), satirical cartoonist, political activist, New Deal muralist, core member of the New York School of abstract expressionism, and chain-smoking Zen-existentialist. Then, in the early 1970s, a decade before his untimely death by heart attack, Guston made a remarkable volte-face that shocked even his peers by returning to figurative painting, producing a whole new body of work that addressed racism, violence, and political corruption in 20th-century America. In response to a flood of criticism, the artist explained: “I got tired of all that purity. I wanted to tell stories.” Inspired by the controversial postponement of Philip Guston Now, a major retrospective planned for 2020, this course aims to exonerate the artist now deemed “problematic” by examining in great detail how Guston responded to the political horrors of his time, as he traded the transcendentalism of abstract art for a more personal, confessional, allegorical, even apocalyptic series of dark and uncompromising works that spared no one, including the artist himself.

More details

You'll Walk Away with

  • Familiarity with Philip Guston’s work
  • An understanding of Philip Guston’s influences and the themes in his art
  • Knowledge about the controversy surrounding the retrospective Philip Guston Now

Ideal for

  • Art enthusiasts
  • Prospective and practicing arts professionals
NO open sections available for this course at the moment. Please check back next semester.
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    • Section

      1
    • Semester

      Summer 2021
    • Date

      Jun 9 - Jul 14
    • Day

      Wednesday
    • Time

      11:00AM-1:05PM
      • Online
    • Format

      Online
      • Online
    • Sessions

      6
    • Location

      Instructor Led
    Tuition $499