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The Heatherley School of Fine Art, 75 Lots Road, Chelsea, London SW10 0RN  |  phone 020 7351 4190

LECTURE with Michael Ajerman: Philip Guston, Don’t Smoke in Bed

Thursday 9 November 2023, 4.30 - 6:00pm

Artist Michael Ajerman presents his lecture: Philip Guston, Don’t Smoke in Bed

Thursday 9 November 2023, 4.30pm – 6:00pm


The talk focuses on Philip Guston’s shifting self, complicated artistic aims, and influences. His working methods, US political tensions, and personal matters will be discussed to give a glimpse of a frantic era that echoes in his works.

From a Jewish immigrant family in Canada, Guston was raised in the United States and went on to achieve renown as one of the prominent abstract painters of the 1950s and 1960s, sharing the spotlight with luminaries such as Mark Rothko and his childhood friend Jackson Pollock.

Taking inspiration from the nightmarish world around him, he created new and surprising imagery, addressing difficult topics such as racism in America and wars abroad.

This lecture coincides with the Philip Guston Tate retrospective exhibition, on from 5 October 2023 – 25 February 2024.

Talk will be an hour. Followed by Q and A.



About Michael Ajerman

Michael Ajerman’s oil paintings depict private moments of quiet domesticity and inner landscapes. His depiction of objects and bodies in flux employ a gestural style focused on colour and brushwork. Frequently populated by subjects real and fictional, his paintings are both intimate and expressive, funny and sinister, luscious and unexpected.

He was born in New York. As a teenager he took part in the Cooper Union Outreach Program. Afterwards studying at the Corcoran School of Art, the New York Studio School, along with the Yale Summer School at Norfolk. In 2003 he completed his Masters Degree at the Slade School of Art. Receiving the British Institute Award from the Royal Academy the same year.

He has consistently exhibited internationally. Select solo shows include: Grip at Aleph Contemporary, London UK. Possessions at Diane Rosenstein Gallery, Los Angeles, CA. Far From Tahiti. HemingwayArt, Oxford, UK Squash. Transition Gallery, London, UK.

Select group shows include: Evening Standard Art Prize, National Gallery, London, UK. In This Soup We Swim, Kingsgate Workshops, London, UK. Contemporary Drawing from Britian, Xi’an Academy of Fine Arts, China. Contemporary British Painting Prize, Richmond Museum, London, UK. East End Painting Prize, The Rum Factory, London, UK. Bad For You, curated by Beth Rudin DeWoody. Shizaru Gallery. London, UK. Bomberg’s Relevance. Ben Uri Gallery, London, UK. Creekside Open x2. Selected by Victoria Miro. A.P.T . London, UK.

In Spring 2022 his work was selected to by David Zwirner’s site Platform, showcased by Diane Rosenstein Gallery.

He is a contributor to Garageland Magazine where he has written articles on cinema, music, literature, and painting. In 2018 he was awarded UCLA’s Kitaj Research Fellowship. Where his study on artists RB Kitaj and Walter Sickert culminated in the lecture, From Tipperary to

Westwood. Select press includes: The New York Times, Flash Art, The Guardian, The Sun, Arte, Garageland, Bay Area Reporter, Royal Academy Magazine

He lives and works in London.

Banner Image: Philip Guston The Line 1978 Promised gift of Musa Guston Mayer to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York © The Estate of Philip Guston