Five Stories for Philip Guston

Book release at Karma Bookstore
January 25, 2024

Please join Printed Matter and Karma to celebrate the launch of Five Stories for Philip Guston. Contributors Thessaly La Force, Audrey Wollen and Christopher Alessandrini will present short readings. This event will take place at Karma Bookstore in the East Village, 136 E 3rd St.

In 1966, after over a decade of making abstractions, Philip Guston abruptly abandoned painting. He started to make drawings of simple things: an iron, a shoe, a nail, an open book. When he started painting again after this brief hiatus, the first image he committed to canvas was this open book, brief brushstrokes standing for lines of text.

Guston was an avid reader of novels, short stories, and philosophy, so it is not surprising that he painted books. What is surprising is how the book paintings made him think anew about narrative, and specifically the potential to tell stories again with his art. There was another prompt: during this period, events in American public life were in turmoil. Having seen firsthand the violence of fascist forces in the 1930s, Guston resolved to commit his work to storytelling once again—but in a new manner.

In this short story collection, five writers working today have created fictions in conversation with Guston and his painting. So many years after his death in 1980, it is clear why his influence remains stronger than ever.

Purchase a copy here.

Published by Printed Matter, Inc.
Designed by Karma
Edited by Emmie Francis & Mark Godfrey
Paintings by Philip Guston
Stories by Christopher Alessandrini, Thessaly La Force, Ben Okri, Lou Stoppard, Audrey Wollen

Special thanks to Musa Mayer, The Guston Foundation, Emmanuel Roman and Hauser & Wirth