Six decades after Philip Guston (1913 – 1980) first shocked the art world, the sweeping ambition of his vision continues to reshape the realm of the possible for artists who have followed in his wake. His paintings blend a precise vocabulary of concerns then without precedent in American painting: mundane domestic objects, body parts and cityscapes within abstract fields of paint. As humorous and personal as they are politically incisive, his paintings draw a vivid picture of Guston’s own muddled dreamscape of fears and anxieties as well as of society’s worst impulses.
Taking one of Guston’s most celebrated paintings – his 1978 masterpiece Story – as the heart of the exhibition, A Thing for the Mind presents work by twelve contemporary artists whose work continues to be influenced by Guston’s ideas: Louise Bonnet, George Condo, Woody de Othello, Carroll Dunham, Armen Eloyan, Maria Lassnig, Chris Martin, Eddie Martinez, Daisy Parris, Walter Price, George Rouy, and Antonia Showering. ‘A painting should be a thing for the mind,’ Guston declared of his philosophy, paraphrasing Leonardo da Vinci.