276°
Posted 20 hours ago

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

£4.995£9.99Clearance
ZTS2023's avatar
Shared by
ZTS2023
Joined in 2023
82
63

About this deal

Abstract at times, there were moments when I had no idea what he was on about, but others where he was irresistibly captivating.

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. 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. 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. 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.Got about halfway before losing interest due to it feeling repetitive caused by it being a collection of his interviews and talks. 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.

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. Or, was the whole world and everything in it set into an us-or-them binary arrangement because of the Cold War? To read this book front-to-back is to witness his paintings gradually outpace Guston’s ability to describe them.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. 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. 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. 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. Usually I don’t mind reading things like this even if I’m not familiar with the artist but I genuinely felt like I was retaining zero information from this.

Get the Coolidge/U Cal edition instead, which is properly edited and includes so many great pieces that don't appear in this throwaway rip-off, like Guston's panel talk in Philadelphia and his conversation with Bill Berkson. 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. 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.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. 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. 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?

Asda Great Deal

Free UK shipping. 15 day free returns.
Community Updates
*So you can easily identify outgoing links on our site, we've marked them with an "*" symbol. Links on our site are monetised, but this never affects which deals get posted. Find more info in our FAQs and About Us page.
New Comment