Steve Locke

  • Philip Guston, The Studio, 1969, oil on canvas, 73 1/4 × 71". © The Estate of Philip Guston.

    Guston, Whiteness, and the Unfinished Business of the Vile World

    I AM IN ART SCHOOL, my first year in an MFA program. 1999. I am the only Black student in my painting-major studio class. Our professor is showing us slides (yes, actual slides) of paintings. It is a classic art-school moment. A group of young people, an older professor, flashes of light on a studio wall. Paintings, one after the other, that have something to do with the current lesson and have a particular interest for people in the class in terms of technique and subject.

    An image of a Klansman appears on the wall. I gasp. The slide seems to be up for much longer than all the other slides.