The best way that I can honor and thank Philip Guston is to help others to see and consider and understand his work. I want people to know something of his career; specifically his decision to reject abstraction and return to figuration late in life. Guston, as an artist, was as courageous as they come and we all have something to learn from his bravery.
In 2003, while working at SFMOMA, I saw Michael Auping's Guston retrospective and became somewhat fanatical about the artist. I developed tunnel vision for the late work. Afternoons off on tours in cities around the world became opportunities to hunt for his paintings. My investigation has resulted in much thinking and deep study over the past ten years. I gave a lecture outside Tiga on his birthday last year and thus began an annual series. He would have been 100 years old in June.
Guston's daughter, Musa Meyer, allowed me to use an image of one of his paintings on the cover of my second drum and voice record, an album that included a response to Guston and to that painting. My third album, which will be released later this year, a spoken drum and voice record, contains even more responses to Guston's late work. I had to ask Meyer if I was the only drummer to bother her and fuss to such an extent over her father's work. She said I was.
Drummer Neal Morgan's evening program will be 90 minutes in length and will include a slide show and discussion.
Sunday, June 23rd at 8 pm
Free and open to the public at Gravel & Gold, 3266 21st Street, San Francisco CA.
Pictured here is The Studio, 1969.