In The Galleries: Philip Guston and Gilbert & George

Philip Guston, Sleeping (1977)

Philip Guston 1969-1979 is on view at Hauser & Wirth through October 30, 2021.

That’s the exhibit we headed for, and it was tremendous. On the way back, we spotted another: Gilbert & George, New Normal Pictures, at Lehmann Maupin, through November 6, 2021.

Gilbert & George, Bollards

I had no idea who they were or what this was about. They turn out to be quintessential flâneurs, British style, and of course artists as well.

Earlier this year, some of their New Normal Pictures were on view in London. Here’s an interview with them in conjunction with the exhibit.

Listening List

Flanagan & Allen, Underneath the Arches (1932)

Why this piece, you may ask?

“On 8 August 1969, two students from St Martin’s School of Art performed for the first time as a live sculpture . . . . [Gilbert & George] would repeat the performance on countless occasions all over the world until the 1990s. . . . For The Singing Sculpture, the pair dressed up in strict suits and sported short-cropped hair, the antithesis of the art-world hippie look of the time. Their faces painted gold and silver, one wearing a glove, the other holding a cane, they danced robotically on a table singing along to a tape recording of Underneath the Arches.” [cite]

And the rest, or so my British source tells me, is history.

1 thought on “In The Galleries: Philip Guston and Gilbert & George

  1. Curt Barnes

    More pondering of that quote “[o]ne century’s wavering is another’s experimentalism,” reminded me of examples closer to Mannerism chronologically. After a frontal representation of the table and disciples for the Last Supper was pretty much set in stone (via Ghirlandaio, del Castagno, and even the innovator Leonardo, who followed tradition on this), the Venetian Tintoretto gave us an angled view, with angels swooping overhead and strategic lighting dramatizing everything. He was vilified for breaching that tradition, but in retrospect it was consistent with Baroque sensibilities. Veronese got in trouble with the Church for his grandiose Last Supper—with a dwarf, a monkey, parrot, and drunken German (!) soldiers adding to the color—until the painting was renamed “Feast in the House of Levi” to satisfy complaints. But the “experimentalism” continued.
    Thanks for the provocative post!

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