Art & Design
Philip Guston's Pivotal Moment
Before Philip Guston made the breakthrough to painting the cartoonish figures that made him such an influence on the artists who followed, he went through what is often referred to as his "transition period," to the curator Paul Schimmel's chagrin. "[That term] doesn't make any sense to me, to describe 10 years in a master’s life," said Schimmel, who curated “Philip Guston: Painter, 1957-1967,” which opened yesterday at Hauser & Wirth in New York. A rarely exhibited decade of work in which Guston pivoted from bold abstract gestures and colors to darker, murkier forms, the paintings hinted at figuration, with suggestions of landscape, portraiture, and even the artist himself on the canvas. At the very end of this decade of creative fermentation, Guston produced "pure drawings"—childlike works of charcoal on paper that led the way to the figurative works that are still on the minds of young artists today.