at Museum of Contemporary Religious Art (MOCRA)
            22 January - 12 March 2006

                   free public opening reception
                   Sunday, 22 January 2006, 1:30 - 3:30 p.m.

               hours and directions

Arshile Gorky (1904–48) is widely regarded as one of the most pivotal and significant artists in the development of 20th-century American art. After moving to America from Armenia in 1920, he quickly became a lightning rod for other artists in the late 1920s and early 30s, sparking the genesis what was to become the “New York School” and setting the course of modern art in America.

The 47 works included in Gorky: The Early Years offer new references and insights into this legendary artist during his seminal period as he explored the avant garde sensibilities of the time. Melvin P. Lader (widely regarded as the eminent scholar on the work of Arshile Gorky and author of numerous books on Gorky and Abstract Expressionism) notes in the accompanying exhibition catalogue, “Examples of his absorption of Analytic Cubism, Synthetic Cubism, and aspects of Surrealism are plentiful among these works …”

That this exhibition was even possible is due to the long-standing friendship between Gorky and the Swiss-born American artist Hans Burkhardt (1904–94), who shared a studio with Gorky in New York for many years, and acquired a formidable collection of Gorky’s early works. Lader observes: “The Burkhardt collection Gorky drawings provides a rather unique opportunity… Drawings, by their very nature, register the artist’s first impulses in creating a work. As such, they can often be of enormous value in understanding how an artist thinks and in tracing the various stages through which his art has progressed.”

Gorky: The Early Years is curated by Jack Rutberg, Director of Jack Rutberg Fine Arts, Los Angeles. This exhibition is part of MOCRA: Sources, an occasional series of exhibitions presenting those seminal artists who have influenced the development of modern and contemporary art, and whose impact is seen in the artists of our time who engage the religious and spiritual dimensions in their work.

Gorky: The Early Years presents an excellent opportunity for artists, especially students, to study up close the formal and technical development of one of the last century’s great artists. MOCRA is happy to work with educators and to arrange class visits during and outside of regular gallery hours. Please call 314.977.7170 or e-mail MOCRA for more information.

Read David Bonetti's review in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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