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

£4.995
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I Paint What I Want to See: Philip Guston (Penguin Modern Classics)

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

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You can change your choices at any time by visiting Cookie preferences, as described in the Cookie notice. Got about halfway before losing interest due to it feeling repetitive caused by it being a collection of his interviews and talks. Even the earliest talk included here, his interview with David Sylvester from 1960, which took place during Guston’s abstract phase, seems to tee up his later practice. If his paintings are always saying ‘Yes, but…’ (to quote the title of Dore Ashton’s essential 1976 book about the artist), so too is Guston. 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 postponement of Guston’s 2020 retrospective, the arguments around which need no further reheating here, cast the artist as a less nuanced protagonist than either his works or his words suggest, in part thanks to the social media context in which those arguments played out. During his lifetime he seemed an outsider, but now the world of painting seems to have regrouped around him. Dialogues were Guston’s chosen form of public speech, several of which, along with other published pieces and talks, are collected in this book, published to coincide with the opening of his rescheduled retrospective in May this year. No reader could finish the book with a sense of Guston as a painter with a singular and unwavering vision of his work and its place in the world. This book captures the breadth and depth of his thinking, and also captures the feeling of an intensely lively era when artists like Cage, Feldman and Guston felt that making art was a branch of philosophy.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. To calculate the overall star rating and percentage breakdown by star, we don’t use a simple average.

This expertly curated selection of Guston's writings, talks and interviews draws together the artist's most incisive reflections on iconography and abstraction, metaphysics and mysticism, and the nature of painting and drawing. Guston, one of the most influential and provocative American artists of the 20th century, had turned his back on the hip New York scene. The latest edition of the Yogyakarta biennial explores ‘Titen’, a Javanese word for the art (or science? The editorial model adopted—allow someone else to do all the work, then conveniently “forget” the fact—no doubt helps to keep overheads low, but should we really be happy that the accountants have won again? And I suppose in the Collected Writings there's a lot of repetition and this smaller Penguin edition has the important stuff; the interview with Rosenberg, and the Studio Notes.Abstract at times, there were moments when I had no idea what he was on about, but others where he was irresistibly captivating. Faith, Hope, and Impossibility and On Morton Feldman are two essays I think every artist should read. We don’t share your credit card details with third-party sellers, and we don’t sell your information to others.

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. 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. Philip Guston, one of the most influential artists of the twentieth century, spoke about art with unparalleled candour and commitment. Whereas the UCal book was a labor of love, some years in the making—the cassette and reel-to-reel recordings were transcribed, and the book edited, by Guston’s close friend, the poet Clark Coolidge—one suspects that I Paint was whipped up in a matter of minutes.Philip Guston, one of the most significant artists of the twentieth century, spoke about art with unparalleled candour and commitment. 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. Figurative painting allowed him to do in art what he’d always loved about talking: to lurch from subject to subject, to butt up against contradictions, to make wisecracks, to repeat himself. So here we are, I am not the biggest fan of his work but there is something about artists, people who produce art, breath art, live art, and of course always think about art, that makes their discussions, thoughts and writings about art, absolutely fascinating. 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.

When asked about the subjects of these late paintings, he’s as confounded as anyone – ‘I don’t know what the hell it looks like’, he says, of a painting of a shoe – but that’s just what he loved about making them. Remember that when Guston had his first 'stumble-bum' exhibition there was lots of exciting figurative painting and image-making happening.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. 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. Or, was the whole world and everything in it set into an us-or-them binary arrangement because of the Cold War? His repeated (and perhaps willed) endorsement of ‘frustration’ as a crucial artistic ingredient in the mid-1960s gives way, by the end of the decade, to an outpouring of large-scale paintings he repeatedly admitted to being baffled by. 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.



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