what movement is philip guston known for
After being expelled for writing a leaflet criticizing the school for valuing sports over arts, Guston won a scholarship to the Otis Art Institute in 1930, and in 1931 had his first one-man exhibition. Unfortunately, the style of academic art practised at Otis (drawing from plaster sculptures) was not to Guston’s taste and in 1932 he quit.
Phase 3: Return to Figurative Art
Philip Guston (‘ust’ pronounced like “rust”), born Phillip Goldstein (June 27, 1913 – June 7, 1980), was a Canadian-American painter and printmaker in the New York School, an art movement that included many abstract expressionists like Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning. In the late 1960s Guston helped to lead a transition from abstract expressionism to neo-expressionism in painting, abandoning so-called “pure abstraction” in favor of more representational, simplified renderings of personal symbols and objects. His existential, lugubrious images after 1968 employed a limited palette.
Among Guston’s students were two graduates of the University of Iowa, painters Stephen Greene (1917–1999)  and Fridtjof Schroder (1917–1990),  as well as Ken Kerslake (1930–2007), who attended the Pratt Institute. Rosemary Zwick was also among his pupils at Iowa.  Among those who attended his graduate seminars at Boston University were painter Gary Komarin (1951–)  and new media artist Christina McPhee (1954–). 
Guston then began painting in 1927 at the age of 14, when he enrolled in the Los Angeles Manual Arts High School. Both he and Jackson Pollock studied under Frederick John de St. Vrain Schwankovsky and were introduced to European modern art, Eastern philosophy, theosophy and mystic literature. During high school, Guston and Jackson Pollock published a paper opposing the high school’s emphasis on sports over art. Their criticism led to both being expelled, but Pollock eventually returned and graduated.
Philip Guston was born in 1913 in Montreal. Guston moved with his family to Los Angeles as a child. His Ukrainian Jewish parents had escaped persecution when they moved to Canada from Odessa, Ukraine. Guston and his family were aware of the regular Ku Klux Klan activities against Jews, blacks and others which took place across California. In 1923, possibly owing to persecution or the difficulty in securing income, his father hanged himself in the shed, and the young Guston found the body.
Guston saw himself following Piero della Francesca and the early Renaissance. To me, his thick faces and angular backgrounds look more like the late realism of Giorgio de Chirico or Francis Picabia. Ironically, like Guston himself, Picabia’s turn from Dada to figuration came into fashion in the 1980s.
Like most artists of the 1930s, Guston first knew two scales of art, the personal and the political. On the public side, he watched David Alfaro Siquieros, the Mexican artist and socialist, paint a mural for Pomona College. He worked on WPA commissions himself. An earnest, early sketch shows a hooded Klansman, like those who beat up gay men in a later painting by George Tooker. When he paints the horrors of war, a bare-chested man tumbles forward, in the viewer’s face—a tribute as much to organized labor as to the showy anatomy and perspective of the Old Masters.
Other big shapes loomed on the horizon of these paintings. Piles of shoes and legs accumulated, and studios with windows, green shades, naked light bulbs and clocks, ticking away, were glimpsed.
The exhibition is organized by Paul Schimmel, the former chief curator of the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art and a partner in Hauser Wirth & Schimmel, the gallery’s Los Angeles branch. It presents the inspiring tale of an artist refusing to give up, and not only illuminates a neglected phase but reshapes understanding of Guston’s career. The show indicates that Guston’s development was the reverse of other Abstract Expressionists’. His own arduous apprenticeship came only after he embraced abstraction, and it guided him back to imagery.