Season 4 Episode 2: Nikki Columbus on “Guston Can Wait”

“Let’s stop talking about Philip Guston and start talking about structural racism.” This has been critic Nikki Columbus’s refrain through the past season, issuing what many considered the final word of a furious debate surrounding the postponement of a Guston retrospective. Titled “Guston Can Wait” and published October 27, 2020 in N+1, the text (which Columbus reads for the podcast) deftly summarizes the controversy’s main thrust – the vehemently-shared opinion that postponing the exhibition was a move based in institutional cowardice – before zooming out for the larger context in which museums are actively undermining and purging their own labor forces; that the Guston furor is distracting from these more pressing issues. “I did have fun writing this,” she admits, before stressing, “We have to let go of this myth that we’re more progressive than any other sector or business.” 

Momus: The Podcast is edited by Jacob Irish, with assistant production from Mitra Shreeram, and music by Ulysses Castellanos. Thank you to every member of our valued Momus team for the collective effort of putting out “criticism in conversation.” We’d also like to thank the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Master in New Arts Journalism for its support, and Nikki Columbus for this motivating and candid conversation. And our deepest thanks to our listeners for their attention, and to those who donate to the podcast – it truly makes a difference. Please visit our Patreon site to learn more about how you can help ensure the podcast’s future.

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