Philip Guston: Cigar

The Missoula Art Museum (Missoula, MT) is creating a new exhibition centered on Art Bridges’ Philip Guston painting, Cigar.

Cigar captures the innovation of Guston’s late figurative paintings. This work is one of the earliest examples of Guston’s radical break from Abstract Expressionism, when he abandoned gestural brushstrokes and colorful abstractions, replacing them with a bold new figurative style. While Guston’s late work is now widely celebrated, his abrupt departure from abstraction was initially met with disdain and outrage by artists and critics. Guston’s shift heralded the decline of Abstract Expressionism and countered critic Clement Greenberg’s assertion that the future of American art would be abstract and nonnarrative.

The project has three phases:

During Phase I, Cigar will be integrated into the MAM collection, and serve as the catalyst for artists to create artworks in response to Guston’s artistic aesthetic practice. The work is on display from May 31-December 21, 2018.

During Phase II, those artist responses will be exhibited at MAM alongside Cigar, in an exhibition of its own from January – May, 2019. Meanwhile, the Art Bridges team will begin securing the venues for the show to travel; initial outreach begins in summer 2018, with more details to come on the Art Bridges website.

In 2020-2021, Phase III will launch with the tour.

The goal of this exhibition is to engage past and present in two ways: first, by inviting contemporary artists to interpret and respond to Guston’s artistic legacy through the lenses of civil rights, human rights, and politics; and second, by engaging audiences with art made in both the past and the present.


Art Bridges support includes:

  • Exhibition Project – Exhibition costs, including travel to the museum for all participating artists, materials, signage, and photography; creation of interpretives and didactic material for the exhibition; in-gallery technology and digital interpretives.
  • Programming & Evaluation Project – Travel and honoraria for the artists and speakers, materials, and outreach support.

Any questions?

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