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Reconstruction and the Wellbeing of the Family, 1942/installed 1943, oil on canvas adhered to wood, Commissioned through the Section of Fine Arts, 1934–1943, Fine Arts Collection, U.S. General Services Administration

Philip Guston and the Mural Impulse 

Lectures and Book Signings

  • Thursday, April 27, 2023
  • 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
  • Auditorium of the Wilbur C. Cohen Federal Building, 330 Independence Ave SW 
  • Talks
  • In-person
  • Registration Required

This is a unique opportunity to view one of Philip Guston's largest murals, Reconstruction and the Wellbeing of the Family, commissioned through the New Deal Section of Fine Arts. Artists Kaliq Crosby and Odili Donald Odita will share their response to the mural and discuss their own practices. Davida Fernández-Barkan will place Guston's mural in its historical context and moderate the artists' conversation. Robin Carnahan, Administrator of the U.S. General Services Administration, and Harry Cooper, Philip Guston Now curator and head of modern and contemporary art, National Gallery of Art, will give remarks.

This event is held in collaboration with the Fine Arts Program of the U.S. General Services Administration.

To arrange a mural tour, please register for one of the regularly scheduled GSA Fine Arts Tours.

About the Presenters

Davida Fernández-Barkan's research focuses on art, the public, and the state in the twentieth century, with an emphasis on murals and photography in the Americas, Europe, and the Soviet Union during the 1920s and 1930s. She is also interested in contemporary art, particularly in performance and social practices. Fernández-Barkan is a David E. Finley Fellow at the National Gallery’s Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts.

Photograph by Emily Jayne Alexander

Odili Donald Odita (born Engu, Nigeria in 1966; lives and works in Philadelphia, PA) is an abstract painter whose work explores color both in the figurative historical and sociopolitical contexts. He is best known for his large-scale canvases with kaleidoscopic patterns and vibrant hues, which he uses to reflect the human condition. Odita’s work is also heavily inspired by a sense of dual identity, combining aspects of Western modernity with African culture. His practice speaks to a contrast of cultures and a desire to create something new from a set of distinct parts. In this sense, his paintings, like a stitched or quilted textile, are weavings from different spaces, times, and various temperaments, which convey the complexity of culture, identity, and being.

Courtesy of the artist

Kaliq Crosby (born 1985, lives, and works in Washington, DC) is an airbrush artist and muralist. His works engage deeply with local history, politics, and community. Raised in the District, Crosby attended the Maryland Institute College of Art and names the National Gallery of Art as among his early artistic influences. Some of Crosby’s most prominent works in the D.C. area include Lee’s Legacy on U Street (2017), the John M. Langston mural on Langston Boulevard (2021), and the Amanda Gorman mural in Dupont Circle (2021). Crosby has a strong community presence, teaching children’s workshops, providing demonstrations in D.C. schools, and participating in youth charity events.