Philip Guston: Talking, 78"x68", 1979
"Beside the glass double doors to my father's studio is a green curtain for privacy, so that no one would walk in on Philip when he was working. Though no one is here but me, I find myself instinctively pulling the curtain across the entryway, hearing the brass rings scrape along the metal rod. Still protecting him. I open the curtain again, reach for the lights, and pause for a second look. The studio walls are bare, with only ladders and light fixtures leaning up against them to disturb their white expanse. Big wooden packing crates for a European exhibition now past, built sturdy as furniture and lined with green felt, are stacked like giant blocks. Stretched, primed canvases stand side by side, waiting. For a year or two, we cleaned in here, but now everything carries a fine coat of pale blond dust. We call this room 'the studio,' but it is no one's studio now. No longer steeped in sadness, it is too anonymous for that. It is no longer his. It's just a room, an empty room. It could be anyone's space, with its flat lights, its silences, its dust. I listen to the high whine of the fluorescent lights, the beating of the silence behind. So this is what death is really, I think, what it becomes. Beyond the pain of loss, there is finally only this sense of absence. The night quiet. And the way that memories blur, running into one another in the dilution of time."