Zoom Lecture


11 December 2023


Philip Guston

A lecture on the exhibition at Tate Modern, London

(until 25 February 2024)

with Ginny Button

This lecture explores the major survey of the work of the Canadian-American artist Philip Guston (1913-80), currently presented at Tate Modern. Co-organised with the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the National Gallery of Art, Washington, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the exhibition has received great critical acclaim.


Guston is widely regarded as one of the most influential painters of the late twentieth century, and the themes of his work continue to resonate. For over fifty years, he produced work that captured the turbulent times he lived in, often expressing his abhorrence of violence, cruelty and injustice. Born in Canada to a Jewish immigrant family, he grew up in the US, and in the 1950s and 1960s became a leading abstract painter alongside his childhood friend Jackson Pollock. His early work included murals and paintings that addressed racism in America and conflicts abroad. During the social and political upheavals of the late 1960s, he became disaffected with abstraction and began producing new, large-scale paintings featuring comic-like figures, some in white hoods representing evil and the everyday perpetrators of racism.


Including more than 100 paintings and drawings the exhibition is presented chronologically, charting Guston’s formative years and activism, his celebrated period of abstraction, and his thought-provoking late works.

Philip Guston, The Studio, 1969, oil on canvas, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark
Philip Guston, The Studio, 1969, oil on canvas, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark

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