Tate Modern presents the landmark exhibition of Philip Guston

An exhibition will show more than 100 paintings by an artist whose career was shaped by his resistance to social injustice.

Tate Modern presents the landmark exhibition of Philip Guston – the artist’s first major UK retrospective in 20 years showing pieces from throughout his 50-year career.

Presented chronologically, the exhibition begins with Mr Guston’s early years as the child of Jewish immigrants who had escaped persecution in present-day Ukraine, and the family’s subsequent migration to Los Angeles in 1922.

Largely self-taught, Mr Guston was drawn to cartoon imagery, European Old Masters painting, surrealism, and Mexican muralism.

Against a threatening backdrop of rising antisemitism and Ku Klux Klan activity that would inform his lifelong stand against racism, Mr Guston’s work became increasingly political.

Several influential works from his first major retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum in 1962 feature in the exhibition, including Dial 1956.

Female Nude with Easel, 1935, Private Collection Picture: The Estate of Philip Guston,
courtesy Hauser and Wirth

By the late 1960s, Mr Guston had become disillusioned with the troubled world around him.

Unsettling caricatures of hooded Ku Klux Klan figures taking part in everyday activities appeared in his work, as he questioned societal complicity in violence and racism.

This period culminated in the now infamous show of paintings with hooded figures at Marlborough Gallery in 1970, which included The Studio 1969, in which he interrogated himself as well as the establishment.

In the Marlborough exhibition aftermath, Mr Guston returned to Italy where he created dozens of small paintings of the ruins and gardens of Rome. Several of these Roma will also be in the exhibition.

The final decade of Mr Guston’s life, although spent in relative obscurity, was his most productive.

Collaborating widely across disciplines, he took much inspiration from poets of the time.

Another work presented only at Tate, Sleeping 1977 shows a monumental image of the artist sleeping in bed, vulnerable and dreaming.

Throughout this final period, Mr Guston remained as rebellious as ever, creating combinations of dream-like images and nightmarish figures, the imagery for which he is best known.

Tickets: www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/philip-guston


Picture: Female Nude with Easel, 1935, Private Collection Picture: The Estate of Philip Guston, courtesy Hauser and Wirth

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