Following intense backlash from the art world, a postponed Philip Guston retrospective organized by the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC will begin in 2022 instead of 2024, the New York Times reported today, October 28.
The National Gallery of Art has not immediately responded to Hyperallergic’s request for comment.
Last month, the four museums sponsoring the exhibition — National Gallery of Art; Tate Modern in London; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston — announced that they would postpone the exhibition to 2024, citing the need to better contextualize Ku Klux Klan imagery in Guston’s work against the backdrop of historic racial justice protests across the country. The museums also acknowledged the need to include “additional perspectives and voices” in shaping the exhibition, which was organized by a predominantly-white team of curators.
“We are postponing the exhibition until a time at which we think that the powerful message of social and racial justice that is at the center of Philip Guston’s work can be more clearly interpreted,” a statement by the four museums said in September.
“It felt like a tough time in America to do this exhibition, particularly at this moment,” said National Gallery Director Kaywin Feldman in an interview with Hyperallergic earlier this month. “In today’s America, because Guston appropriated images of Black trauma, the show needs to be about more than Guston.” Feldman added that the exhibition could be held before 2024, at a time “past COVID.”
The decision was met with fierce condemnation by many art world figures. Over 2,600 artists, curators, and critics signed an open letter, published by the Brooklyn Rail on September 30, calling on the four museums to reverse their decision. The letter accused the institutions of “fear[ing] controversy” and “lack[ing] faith in the intelligence of their audience.”
A spokesperson for the National Gallery told the Times that the decision to advance the exhibition to 2022 was not in response to the backlash, adding that 2024 was initially chosen as a realistic post-pandemic time frame.
Memories So Fair and Bright
Kimetha Vanderveen’s paintings are about the interaction of materiality and light, the bond between the palpable and ephemeral world in which we live.
Artists Contemplate Sovereignty in Santa Fe
The Santa Fe Art Institute’s 2024 International Thematic Residency focuses on what sovereignty means for artists from across the world.
When I Am Empty Please Dispose of Me Properly
Ayanna Dozier, Ilana Harris-Babou, Meena Hasan, Lucia Hierro, Catherine Opie, Chuck Ramirez, and Pacifico Silano explore the myths of the American Dream at Brooklyn’s BRIC House.
How Did Early Modern European Craftspeople Pass On Their Knowledge?
A new book about object making critically examines a written history of working with materials.
Dual Portrait of Old Master Rachel Ruysch Holds a Trove of Secrets
The Metropolitan Museum of Art has just acquired the rare painting, which depicts the Dutch artist at work surrounded by her signature flora.
Pratt’s 2023 Fine Arts MFA Thesis Exhibition Is On View in Brooklyn
The two-part exhibition features the work of 41 graduating artists across disciplines, including painting, sculpture, printmaking, and integrated practices.
Did Van Gogh’s Disdain for the Eiffel Tower Inspire “Starry Night”?
Art historian James Hall argues that van Gogh replaced the Eiffel Tower with a towering cypress tree and its inaugural light shows with the night sky.
Greek Museum Welcomes Dogs For World Stray Animal Day
Furry friends and their pawrents can visit Athens’s National Museum of Contemporary Art for free this weekend.
The Milton Resnick and Pat Passlof Foundation Presents The Feminine in Abstract Painting
Curated by Jennifer Samet and Andrea Belag, this group exhibition in NYC explores the feminine through aesthetics, as opposed to identity or gender.
Ai Weiwei Recreates Monet’s “Water Lilies” Using 650,000 LEGOS
It’s the artist’s largest LEGO artwork to date.
Did a Simpsons Episode Predict the Florida “David” Outrage?
The episode, which aired 30 years ago, made a dark prediction about conservative politics in 2023.
NYU Steinhardt Opens 2023 MFA Thesis Exhibitions
Taking place at 80WSE Gallery in New York’s Greenwich Village, Part I is on view from late March through April while Part II opens in May.
Coasting the Topography of South Asian Futurisms
As part of Hyperallergic’s Emily Hall Tremaine Journalism Fellowship for Curators, Sadaf Padder presents an exhibition to offer insight into her curatorial process.
I’m a Florida Drag Queen and I’m Scared
I’m truly at a loss for what to do for work and what kind of life I can expect to live.