Art Museum opens exhibit on Arshile Gorky

    On Wednesday the Philadelphia Museum of Art will open a new exhibit of the work of an early 20th century abstract artist named Arshile Gorky. The large and ambitious show draws works from many collections around the world. It’s the kind of show that is expensive to do.

    On Wednesday the Philadelphia Museum of Art will open a new exhibit of the work of an early 20th century abstract artist named Arshile Gorky. The large and ambitious show draws works from many collections around the world. It’s the kind of show that is expensive to do.
    Caption: Khorkom, from Auction House Records, © 2001 Estate of Arshile Gorky / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

    Listen:
    [audio: 091019pcmuseum.mp3]

    Arshile Gorky was an important Armenian-American artist whose style was a precursor to Abstract Expressionism. Out of the 178 paintings in this show, only 3 of them came from the Museum’s own collection. The rest were hunted down, negotiated, and insured for the galleries. All of which is getting more and more expensive.

    The museum’s new director Timothy Rub says putting on shows of this scale are increasingly difficult to do – particularly in this economy – but that is part of the mission of the institution.

    Rub: The obligation we have is to use resources we can muster for this purpose as wisely as possible. We need to do shows economically, but we also need to choose right ones for this community and do them at the right time.

    In contrast, another show this spring on the work of Pablo Picasso will be put together entirely from the museum’s existing collection.

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