WPA in NH: Philip Guston and Musa McKim
The Currier Museum of Art celebrates two long-forgotten masterpieces of American art with the exhibition WPA in NH: Philip Guston and Musa McKim. In 1941, the famed artist Philip Guston and the poet/painter Musa McKim painted a pair of monumental murals for the Federal forestry building in Laconia, New Hampshire. Each measuring 14 feet, the expansive paintings depict sustainable logging and the restoration of New Hampshire forests around the White Mountains. The images were commissioned by the Works Progress Administration to carry out public projects and support artists under the Federal New Deal.
Although these magnificent murals are of great artistic significance, they have long been forgotten as the original building in Laconia was repurposed. The paintings have been carefully restored by the GSA and are back in New Hampshire where they can now be seen at the Currier Museum of Art.
The paintings mark important points in the careers of the two artists, who were married to each other. Shortly after completing this mural, Philip Guston gave up realistic painting to focus on Abstract Expressionism; he became a leader of the New York School. Musa McKim focused her career on poetry and writing; her collection Alone with the Moon was published in 1994.
The display has been made possible by the Center of Fine Arts of the U.S. General Services Administration. The Guston Foundation, responsible for the legacy of Philip Guston, and Musa Mayer, daughter of Guston and McKim, have supported the Currier’s exhibition.
artist in residence
Our Artist-in-Residence (AIR) program invites artists to live and work at the museum. While in residence, artists consider the collection and community, and refresh our perspectives on the role of the museum. The program is central to the Currier Museum’s mission of connecting our audiences with art and creative thinking, whether of the past or the future. We hope to learn from our visiting artists – and be surprised by their perspectives.
Artists working in all media participate in the AIR program, which has three main components: 1) an open call to support emerging artists making socially engaged art; 2) an invitational through which artists are selected to develop special projects, commissions, or exhibitions; and 3) artist-led, community-centered public art projects in the city of Nashua, NH.
Open Call for Artist in Residence Applications
Our annual open call is currently live from October 1 – December 1, 2022. Artists who share the museum’s goal of positively impacting communities through the transformative power of art are encouraged to apply to this residency.