In Conversation: Musa Mayer & Adam Gopnik on ‘Night Studio: A Memoir of Philip Guston’

  • Wed 18 October 2023
  • 6 pm

On the occasion of Hauser & Wirth Publishers’ new edition of ‘Night Studio: A Memoir of Philip Guston’ by Musa Mayer, the artist’s daughter, join us for a talk about the book, its new afterword and Guston's legacy, with writer Adam Gopnik.

Beginning as a muralist in the 1930s, Philip Guston (1913 – 1980) embraced the lyrical vocabulary of abstract expressionism after his move to the East Coast. Following an artistic crisis in the mid-1960s, his return to figuration—focusing first on things of ordinary life, later evolving to the enigmatic and iconic cartoon-like forms for which he is now best known—shook the art world. ‘Night Studio’ is both a deeply personal account of growing up in the shadow of a great artist and a daughter’s quest to better understand her father, based on letters, notes, and interviews. This richly illustrated new edition is complemented by Mayer’s reflections on the recent reception of Guston’s work and the afterlife of her memoir, first published to critical acclaim in 1988.

To increase accessibility to this exciting program, this in-person event will also be livestreamed on at 3 pm PT, 6 pm ET and 11 PM BST. Whether attending in person or online, reservations are required.

Copies of the book will be available for purchase at the event.



About Philip Guston
Philip Guston (1913 – 1980) is one of the great luminaries of 20th-century art. His commitment to producing work from genuine emotion and lived experience ensures its enduring impact. Guston’s legendary career spanned a half century, from 1930 to 1980. His paintings—particularly the liberated and instinctual forms of his late work—continue to exert a powerful influence on younger generations of contemporary painters.

About Musa Mayer
The newest edition of Musa Mayer’s 1988 book, ‘Night Studio: A Memoir of Philip Guston’, contains a new afterword that discusses the current Guston retrospective and the controversy leading up to it. In 2015, Musa retired from a 25 career as a cancer advocate to focus full time on her father’s legacy, working with Hauser & Wirth to curate Guston exhibitions in New York, London, Hong Kong and Los Angeles. Among other books and catalogues, a monograph she edited on the Nixon drawings won an international art prize in 2017.

In addition to managing the Guston estate, Musa is President of The Guston Foundation, whose legacy projects include the website, built around a 50-year chronology of Guston’s career and the catalogues raisonné of his paintings, drawings, and archives that detail all exhibitions, bibliography and holdings in museum collections around the world. Last year, Musa promised her extensive personal collection of her father’s work to the Metropolitan Museum of Art when the new Modern and Contemporary Wing opens at the end of the decade.

About Adam Gopnik
Adam Gopnik has been writing for The New Yorker since 1986. During his five decades at the magazine, he has published more than a million words, in hundreds of essays, from personal memoirs to reviews and profiles, along with much reporting from abroad as well as fiction, humor and art criticism. His books, ranging from essay collections about Paris and food to children’s novels, include Paris to the Moon, The King in the Window, and most recently A Thousand Small Sanities: The Moral Adventure of Liberalism. He has written essays on and introductions to new editions of works by Moliere, Balzac, Maupassant, Proust and Victor Hugo, and is the editor of both the Richard Wilbur/Moliere and S.J. Perelman volumes in the Library of America. His work in the musical theater includes the libretto and lyrics for the musical comedy ‘Our Table’ with David Shire, and for the oratorio ‘Sentences’ with Nico Muhly.

Adam Gopnik has won the National Magazine Award for Essays and for Criticism three times, as well as the George Polk Award for Magazine Reporting. In January of 2021, he was created an Officer of Legion d’ Honneur, France’s highest civilian or military decoration. He had previously, in March of 2013, been named a Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters. He has also received a honoris causa from his Alma matter, McGill University and that same year also received an honorary doctorate from the Rhode Island School of Design. He lives in New York with his wife, Martha Parker, and their two children, varyingly present, Luke Auden and Olivia Esme Claire.