Philip Guston: A Life LivedVIEW EVENT DETAILS
Directed by Michael Blackwood
58 Min | US
Together with Hauser & Wirth, Asia Society Hong Kong Center brings to Hong Kong the documentary film Philip Guston: A Life Lived which parallels Hauser & Wirth’s Philip Guston A Painter’s Forms exhibition and traces the life of one of America’s leading abstract expressionists.
Late in life, Guston looks back over a career that originated in social realism during the '30s, moved to the center of Abstract Expressionism, and culminated in a return to figuration. Filmed at his retrospective in San Francisco in 1980 and at his Woodstock studio where he is seen painting. The artist speaks candidly about his philosophy of painting and the psychological motivation for his work.
In the 1960s, New York became the center of the Art World taking over from Paris. Philip Guston and his fellow members of the New York School had convinced Europe that abstract expressionism was the way of the future. But in 1969 Guston broke with the abstract expressionist dogma to return to his figurative roots. His gallery and many artists did not forgive him. He left New York, moving studio to Woodstock and spent the next ten years making the paintings he really meant to make.
He was close friends with many poets. I (Film Director: Michael Blackwood) met him in 1970 through a poet friend. I immediately realized that this story deserves a film and began filming off and on with him until 1980 when he traveled to San Francisco where the Museum of Modern Art gave him a retrospective exhibition which revealed his new direction dramatically and caused a sensation. He became known for his new work. His abstract expressionist work remains respected. He died a few months later.
Philip Guston (1913–1980) is one of the great luminaries of twentieth-century art, whose commitment to producing work from genuine emotion and lived experience ensures its enduring impact. Guston’s legendary career spanned a half century, from 1930 to 1980. His paintings—particularly the liberated and instinctual forms of his late work—continue to exert a powerful influence on younger generations of contemporary painters. Born in Montreal, Canada, in 1913 to poor Russian Jewish émigrés, Guston moved with his family to California in 1919. Briefly attending the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles in 1930, he was otherwise completely self-taught.
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