Rethinking Arshile Gorky

Paperback
(ISBN: 978-0-271-03647-2)
$45.00
2009 University Park
288 pages
Size: 7" x 10"
Language(s): English

“Kim Theriault’s remarkable scholarly reassessment of Gorky comes as a breath of fresh air and will be considered in years to come as a landmark publication in the field of modern art and criticism. Theriault’s critical study represents the first attempt to link the horrific and traumatic circumstances of Gorky’s early life with his abstract paintings of the 1940s, which she persuasively argues to be a visual manifestation of displacement and trauma rather than simply the assimilation of modernist painting practices.” —Michael Taylor, The Philadelphia Museum of Art Often referred to as the last Surrealist and first Abstract Expressionist, Arshile Gorky (c. 1900-1948) appears as an interstice within art historys linear progression. Gorky embraced dream imagery in the tradition of the Surrealists, used all-over patterning before Jackson Pollock, promoted disembodied color before Mark Rothko, exploited the physicality of paint before Willem de Kooning, and anticipated stain painting. His life—escaping the Armenian Genocide of 1915 and struggling as an immigrant artist in New York in the 1930s and 1940s—and his tumultuous personal relationships have cast the artist as a tragic figure and often overshadowed the genius of his art. Rethinking Arshile Gorky is an examination of the artist and his work based on themes of displacement, self-fashioning, trauma, and memory. By applying a multitude of techniques, including psychoanalytic, semiotic, and constructivist analyses to both explain and demythologize the artist, is a contemporary critique of both the way we construct the idea of the “artist” in modern society and the manner in which Arshile Gorky and his art have historically been addressed.

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