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Philip Guston

brush and ink
18 3/16 x 24 1/16 in.
Smithsonian American Art Musem, Gift of Ruth and Jacob Kainen

In Hovering Guston contemplates the nature of creativity, its sources, pitfalls, contradictions, and endurance. The large, bulbous head is the artist, while the faceless, vertical head at his side is his wife, Musa, literally his muse. The clock with numbers refers to the passage of time, while the watch face without numbers suggests immortality. Guston juxtaposes comic, grotesque, and serious elements as a means of pondering the ironies and ambiguities of questions that have no simple answers.