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

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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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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. Philip Guston, one of the most significant artists of the twentieth century, spoke about art with unparalleled candour and commitment.

The wealth of information on the creative process, metaphysics, philosophy, art, painting, and anything similar is honestly unreal. We don’t share your credit card details with third-party sellers, and we don’t sell your information to others. 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. 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 influential artists of the twentieth century, spoke about art with unparalleled candour and commitment.

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. 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.

To read this book front-to-back is to witness his paintings gradually outpace Guston’s ability to describe them. You can change your choices at any time by visiting Cookie preferences, as described in the Cookie notice. 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.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. 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.

Touching on work from across his career as well as that of his fellow artists and Renaissance heroes, this selection of his writings, talks and interviews draws together some of his most incisive reflections on iconography and abstraction, metaphysics and mysticism, and, above all, the nature of painting and drawing. 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.

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.



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