Philip Guston: Cigar

The Missoula Art Museum (Missoula, MT) is exploring the depth and breadth of Philip Guston’s incredible work, Cigar, in three phases.

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. The exhibition, In Praise of Folly, is now on view, and offers an extensive website with outstanding content about the project.

After the exhibition closes at MAM, it is available for touring – details will be available through Art Bridges in March 2019.


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.

Get Started - Contact Us

    • Stay with us! We have new acquisitions all the time, interesting announcements and other new programs launching.