new-york

Philip Guston, San Clemente, 1975, oil on canvas, 68 × 73 1/4". © The Estate of Philip Guston.

Philip Guston

Hauser & Wirth | West 22nd Street

Philip Guston, San Clemente, 1975, oil on canvas, 68 × 73 1/4". © The Estate of Philip Guston.

Who would have imagined that it would one day be possible to feel a sort of wistful nostalgia for the Nixon era? Yet that is the pass we have come to, facing an administration that might make his seem almost innocent by comparison. That’s why “Philip Guston: Laughter in the Dark, Drawings from 1971 & 1975”—which was curated by Sally Radic of the Guston Foundation, and Musa Mayer, Guston’s daughter, and followed by a little more than six months Hauser & Wirth’s equally extraordinary and very different exhibition of abstract works, “Philip Guston: Painter, 1957–1967”—was probably the timeliest exhibition to take place this late fall to early winter, that is, in the period from just before the 2016 election to just after the inauguration of Donald Trump as the new US president.

Guston had made his radical shift from abstract to figurative painting in 1968, just in time, as

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