new-york

Philip Guston

David McKee Gallery

There are some who believe that society's acceptance of an artist's vision diminishes that vision. More often than not, society erodes the artist's independence by transforming artwork into a commodity, which ultimately entraps him or her in a symbiotic relationship. One approach to this dilemma is for the artist to exploit this relationship—a strategic maneuver of which Andy Warhol was a past master, using it to achieve a mass audience. Another approach, diametrically opposite to this one, is the one taken by Philip Guston, who, each time he gained approval, began to doubt himself to such an extent that he eventually stepped outside of consensus opinion. Guston, deeply distrustful of societal approval, believed that such approval was delimiting, and that for an artist to receive it was a sign that he or she was a good student of official history and had satisfied an agreed-upon standard.

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.