Wade Guyton: Handsome imperfection

Here are some excerpts from Carol Vogel’s recent NY Times profile of Wade Guyton (b. 1972), whose well-deserved mid-career survey opens at the Whitney this week.

 “I never really enjoyed drawing or art classes,” said Mr. Guyton
unapologetically as he described growing up in a small town in
Tennessee. “I would prefer to sit in front of the TV or play video

 One of Guyton’s pieces from 2008. Credit: Karsten Moran for NYTimes
It’s the imperfections that result when the printer jams, or the ink is
suddenly gooey or running low that make Mr. Guyton’s canvases more
painterly. “I’m not hoping for an accident or even courting disaster,” he said.
“The works on linen are a record of their own making which at times can
include accidents in the printing or in the physical act of making them,
like when I drag a canvas across a studio floor.”

The last wall of the show is where two of the giant red-and-green
striped canvases that he was creating in his studio now hang. The
largest of them — stretching 50 feet — has noticeable red smears of ink
and the illusion of folds where the stripes were printed off-register,
giving the canvas a rich, three-dimensional quality. 
“It would be wrong to have tried to correct these things,” Mr. Guyton
said at the Whitney as he stared at the wall just after a team of about
10 had finished installing the works. “This is a recording process as
much as a production process. And I have to live with it, smears and

So true.

Wade Guyton: OS,” curated by Scott Rothkopf. The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY. October 4, 2012 – January 13, 2013.


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4 thoughts on “Wade Guyton: Handsome imperfection”

  1. Guyton is the Bouguereau of our day minus the talent and the widespread appeal. It's esoteric bullshit that's only interesting because it's completely uninteresting. It will be forgotten in time. It's merely work that's has been propped up by institutions and collectors and history shows they often miss the really innovative stuff when it happens.

  2. Finally saw it. Such a brilliant show. And lo and behold, right on schedule, haters from the previous century (John Yau) and fools from the present one (endless in number) are busy hating it. Typical and boring kind of resistance, first from the rigid painter people, then from the rigid digital people. Snore. Guyton transcends both.

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