Philip Guston: The Essential Line and performance of Morton Feldman’s, For Philip Guston

Filed in Exhibitions, Past Exhibitions by on August 10, 2019

Performance of Morton Feldman’s, For Philip Guston by Bent Duo – David Friend and Bill Solomon, special guest Emlyn Johnson

August 10, 1 – 5 PM, Free

August 10 – September 1, 2019

Reception: Saturday, August 17, 4 – 6 PM

Performance: Sat. August 10, 1 – 5 pm


The Essential Line features Philip Guston’s “pure drawings” and in conjunction with the exhibition a performance of Morton Feldman’s composition, For Philip Guston.

The selection of twelve ink on paper drawings, referred to as the “pure drawings,” were completed in a two year period of time between 1966 and 1967 when Guston had abandoned his painting to concentrate only on drawing. This was an extremely liberating time for Guston. In an interview with Mark Stevens that appeared in The New Republic (March 15, 1980) the artist commented on this work saying – “It was a clearing the decks. It was like starting again, like a child, just taking a very simple line”…..what would happen, I thought, if I eliminated everything except just raw feeling and the brush and ink, the simplest of means without even the seductions of color. It was like testing myself, to see what I am, what I can do.”

A special performance of Morton Feldman’s composition, For Philip Guston will be presented in conjunction with the exhibition. Composed in 1984, Feldman (1926-1987) was inspired by the work of painter Philip Guston (1913-1980), who had passed away in 1980. Feldman and Guston had a long friendship that ended with a falling out which Feldman came to regret. Guston moved to Woodstock in the late 60’s, and thus with this performance, Feldman and Guston are brought back together again.

The composition will be performed by New York’s Bent Duo, an experimental NYC-based duo project investigating the limits of chamber music for piano and percussion. Founded in 2015, the duo has performed at a wide variety of venues and is equally committed to works that exploit the performers’ virtuosic instrumental technique as to those that are developing new performance techniques entirely. Bent Duo members Bill Solomon, percussionist and David Friend, pianist are respected members of the NYC classical and new music scenes and frequently perform in NYC, across the country, and abroad with groups including Ensemble Signal, Grand Band, Talujon Percussion, Bang on a Can All-Stars, and the American Composers Orchestra, among others. 

The quiet, slow composition of For Philip Guston is complimented by the essential, minimal nature of the “pure drawings.” The exhibition of the drawings will be installed in a gallery adjacent to the performance area allowing audience members to take in both art and music throughout the performance. This is an event that transcends a typical concert experience, but rather presents an immersive and contemplative environment that will resonate with audience members. Due to the extreme length of the work, (over four hours), audience members will be invited to listen to the performance for any duration they wish, walking through the gallery to see works or sitting down to focus on the music.

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