Painting, Smoking, Eating
- late works by Philip Guston
4 June - 7 September 2014
Philip Guston (1913-1980) is one of the most important American painters from the second half of the 20th century. He is the great master of black humour, a painters’ painter with cult status among many younger artists. This summer Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, which showed the exhibition Philip Guston with his works on paper in 2007, is showing his late works with a presentation of 86 paintings and drawings.
At the end of the 1940s and throughout the 1950s the American painter Philip Guston (1913-1980) was a highly respected member of the Abstract Expressionist circle of painters in New York. But in his late work – from around
1968 until his death in 1980 – he changed his mode of expression dramatically and entirely abandoned abstraction for
a strikingly figurative, almost comic-strip-like visual idiom. Guston thus also became a standard-bearer for the revival
of the figurative tradition in American art in the 1970s and 1980s.
To mark the centenary of Guston’s birth Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt has organized an exhibition as a tribute to the artist in collaboration with Louisiana Museum of Modern Art and Deichtorhallen Hamburg / Sammlung Falckenberg with a concentrated selection of the artist’s late works – a milestone in American painting. The exhibition, shown at Louisiana in The Curved Gallery and The Column Gallery, presents 86 works with loans from among other sources
The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Centre Pompidou, Paris, the Guston family
and the McKee Gallery, New York.
Guston’s work is about the simple conditions of existence. His universe is played out in a minor key with a background in his not very life-affirming biography – his Jewish origins cannot be ignored – but his painterly energy and his artistic power are great, and the pictures triumph over the melancholy with their energetic display of colour and his distinctive figurative style.
It was at the end of the sixties that Guston radically transformed his artistic language from the more abstract signs of the hand to the advent of the object. Everything that Guston drew and painted in the last ten years of his life was his life, as represented through the accumulation of objects. Smoothing-irons, brushes, clocks, cigars, books – everything that cluttered up the studio found its way into the picture space and formed the private constellation that shows us Guston’s days, weeks, months, years. Philip Guston’s strength is that he insisted on this relationship with the reality of the close things and turned it into a pictorial world of great human strength.
Philip Guston, whose Jewish family fled Odessa for Canada at the beginning of the twentieth century, is an existential artist. Everywhere in his visual world there is a vibrant sensitivity – even though the pictures may appear both abstract and ironic.
In the 1950s the self-taught Guston gained a marginal foothold in the New York art scene and won recognition as an Abstract Expressionist alongside painters like Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning and Mark Rothko. But in the mid-sixties Guston changed direction and began to work figuratively. His choice of colours and subjects stood out, and his caricatured and sometimes grotesque human figures, inspired by among other things the universe of the comic strip, were unusual and aroused discussion and a historic scandal at the opening of an exhibition at the Marlborough in 1970.
After this Guston left the art scene and moved away from the city, continuing to paint and draw. Only shortly before
his death in 1980 was a major retrospective exhibition of his works held in San Francisco. This brought him recognition both as an artist and as a precursor of the figurative painting of later times.
Philip Guston in the Louisiana collection
Philip Guston is now represented in all major American museums, but in Europe it is still only a minority of museums that have acquired his works and shown exhibitions of the artist. This is not the case, however, with Louisiana, which acquired its first work, the drawing Untitled, 1970, many years ago, and which in connection with the showing of the retrospective exhibition of about 110 of the artists’ works on paper in 2007 also presented a sensational new acquisition for the museum’s collection, the painting Mirror to S. K., 1960. In the Louisiana context this painting has clear links with painters like Georg Baselitz and Per Kirkeby, while for example the contemporary Danish artist Tal R is also interested in Guston. Philip Guston is thus a good example of ‘an artists’ artist’ – that is,
a painter with great integrity who has been a strong inspiration for later generations. In addition Louisiana owns the works Division, 1975, as well as the drawings Untitled, c. 1962, and Untitled, 1968, donated in connection with the exhibition in 2007 by The Estate of Philip Guston.
Poul Erik T°jner has written about Guston in among other contexts his book Louisiana ABC.
Special catalogue and Louisiana Magasin no. 40
For the exhibition the special catalogue Philip Guston. Das Grosse Spńtwerk / Late Works by Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt and Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, HumlebŠk, is published by StrzeleckiBooks. The catalogue appears in an English/German edition and features an introduction by Poul Erik T°jner and the articles “Hilarious Crudity. Philip Guston’s Late Paintings” by Ingrid Pfeiffer; “Philip Guston. Endgame” by Harald Falckenberg; “Reading Poems with his Pen. Guston’s Poem-Pictures” by Raphael Rubinstein; “Philip Guston Talking. A lecture
at the University of Minnesota”, edited by Renee McKee; a biography and a list of works as well as a select bibliography.
Louisiana Magasin no. 40, May 2014, (only in Danish) features the article “Kontant” by Poul Erik T°jner and the article “Sp°gelser omkring bordet” by the Norwegian/American writer Siri Hustvedt.
The exhibition has been organized by Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt in collaboration with Louisiana Museum of Modern Art and Deichtorhallen Hamburg / Sammlung Falckenberg.
The exhibition is supported by C. L. Davids Fond og Samling.
Fonden Realdania is sponsor of Louisiana’s architectural exhibitions.
Further information on the exhibition Painting, Smoking, Eating – late works by Philip Guston is available from the undersigned. Press photos can be downloaded from Louisiana press website: www.louisiana.dk. A log-in can be ordered from the undersigned either by e-mail at email@example.com or at M: +45 2858 5052.
The big summer exhibition at Louisiana Museum of Modern Art is a comprehensive presentation of Emil Nolde’s
oeuvre. Emil Nolde (1867-1956) is a classic painter – whether we are speaking of his almost incendiary watercolours
of poppies and other intensely coloured phenomena in nature, or his pronounced expressionistic love of the
‘primitive’, the simple. But Nolde is not only an impactful colourist. His oeuvre is huge and composite, and the
exhibition at Louisiana, created in collaboration with Stńdel Museum in Frankfurt, offers the viewer insight into all
facets of his lifelong production for the first time in many years.
Emil Nolde is one of the most important representatives of German Expressionism, but his close ties with Denmark – both
biographical and geographical – also give him a natural position in the Danish art history. Louisiana has shown Nolde several
times before. The first time was in 1967 on the occasion of the centenary of the artist’s birth and the last time was in 1986.
With this exhibition, just over 25 years later, the museum is also presenting the popular artist for a new generation.
The exhibition takes a fresh look at Nolde’s oeuvre as a composite whole and shows new and surprising sides of the artist.
It includes appr. 140 works, a. o. a number of major works such as Spring in the Room (1904), The Last Supper (1909) and
Candle Dancers (1912). But it also shows several of the artist’s paintings and prints that have not previously been shown
outside SeebŘll in Germany, where much of Nolde’s life’s work is kept today. A number of rarely seen works from museums
and private collections are also included.
The exhibition comprises paintings, watercolours and prints from all periods of the artist’s career, presented in thematic
chapters following a loose chronology. Nolde’s paintings from 1895 until 1948 show with great clarity how he tried out a
variety of painting methods until he found his own style. The selection of works in the exhibition makes it clear how the artist
worked with many different themes – from Expressionist landscapes through boisterous night scenes from Berlin to exotic
South Sea subjects and images with religious content. Nolde’s early and late work, which has not been given much attention
in other exhibitions, is given a special place in this exhibition.
The comprehensive exhibition has been mounted on the basis of new research and gives the public the opportunity to dip
into sub-genres of Nolde’s life’s work, but it also offers an overview of his extraordinarily versatile output and artistic
The exhibition has been organized by Stńdel Museum, Frankfurt, and Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, HumlebŠk,
and is supported by loans from Nolde Stiftung SeebŘll.
15. Juni Fonden has supported the exhibition.
Further information on the exhibition Emil Nolde: A Retrospective is available from curator Kirsten Degel or the
undersigned. Press photos can be downloaded from www.louisiana.dk.A log-in can be ordered from the undersigned either
by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone (M: +45 2858 5052).
Museum opening hours: Tuesday - Friday 11:00-22:00. Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays 11:00-18:00. Mondays
closed. Louisiana website: www.louisiana.dk. Louisiana Channel: channel.louisiana/dk.
L O U I S I A N A
Head of Press
Olafur Eliasson Olafur Eliasson - Riverbed
Aug 20, 2014 - Jan 4, 2015
Louisiana shows the first solo exhibit at the museum by Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur. A giant landscape will unfold throughout the museum.
On 20 August Louisiana Museum of Modern Art opens its doors to the first solo exhibition at the museum by the Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson. The main work, a giant landscape, will unfold throughout the whole South Wing of the museum in one great sweep – and as a major intervention in Louisiana’s usual administration of art in space, thus giving the viewer the opportunity to think about the aesthetic experience as more than just the encounter between subjects and objects.
Since the beginning of the collaboration it has been clear that a solo exhibition of Eliasson at Louisiana would inevitably be a radical, site-specific exhibition that would take up a discussion of the reality of the museum as an institution and locality, and at the same time focus on local sensory experience in a global perspective.
The transitions between inside and outside, culture and staged nature, become fluid and transitory – and the progress of the visitor through the museum becomes a central issue. Eliasson’s exhibition will be an enhancement of our gaze at the museum, at ourselves and at the world.
The exhibition is supported by Ny Carlsbergfondet and Realdania and also Kvadrat.
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