Enigma: Guston meets de Chirico


[Ed. note: This post has been corrected. Alexandra Pollyea of the Santa Monica Museum of Art wrote to clarify that Enigma Variations is a co-curatorial production. PMA’s Michael Taylor and SMMoA’s Lisa Melandri co-curated the show.]

Philip Guston
By the Window, 1969
Oil on canvas
78 x 81 1/4 inches
Private Collection, Courtesy of McKee Gallery, New York
© The Estate of Philip Guston

…would you believe in Santa Monica? SMMoA is where PMA Curator of Modern Art Michael Taylor and SMMoA Curator Lisa Melandri rounded up the masters’ surreal connections and the postcard has us convinced it’s gonna be a great show. Who knew Guston was such a fan of de Chirico’s? Of course Michael Taylor knew because he curated the 2002-3 de Chirico show at the PMA.

Giorgio de Chirico
The Poet and His Muse, 1925
Oil and tempera on canvas
35 7/8 x 29 inches
Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Louise and Walter Arensberg Collection
© Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/SIAE, Rome

But check out these two paintings and count up the number of affinities there are. Pretty spooky. We love the way Guston got all of those politics in–KKK headdress and the good old boy with the big cigar. We also like the green window shade which was a mere aura in de Chirico’s work.

There’s another Philadelphia connection working here. Elsa Longhauser, head of SMMoA, previously headed up the Galleries at Moore. Lisa Melandri, a curator under Longhauser at Moore, is at SMMoA too, and co-curated this show.

Santa Monica Museum of Art
Enigma Variations: Philip Guston and Giorgio de Chirico
September 9 – November 25, 2006


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