Ron Gorchov

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Ron Gorchov (born 1930) is an American artist who has been working with curved surface paintings and shaped canvases since 1967.[1] Gorchov's primary invention consists of finely fitted, curved wooden frames resembling shields or saddles, across which is stretched linen or canvas. He uses simple paired strokes to create images that play with asymmetry within a basically symmetrical design, creating his emblematic doubled or mirrored image.[2]

Gorchov's paintings are included in many prominent collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Detroit Institute of Art, and the Guggenheim.


Gorchov's career as an artist began in 1944, at the age of fourteen, when he began taking classes at the Art Institute of Chicago. Many of his fellow students were servicemen returning from World War II who used G.I. Bill benefits to pay for art materials. "A veteran... gave me a paper bag with all his half-squeezed oil paint tubes and a whole bunch of old brushes and he said they'd be good luck.".[3]

Gorchov attended the University of Mississippi in 1947 and called it "the most unlikely place I could go. The deep south was exotic. I went fishing with William Faulkner...but because of the horrific racial problem I was mentally not at all able to think about art."[4] Gorchov returned to Chicago and took both academic and art classes at Roosevelt College and the Art Institute. In 1953, Gorchov came to New York with his wife and newborn son and eighty dollars. The family moved into the Marlton Hotel, across the street from where the Whitney Museum used to be and what is now the New York Studio School.

Gorchov's career has included impressive showings at Susan Caldwell and Pat Hamilton galleries in the 1970s, followed by Hamilton, Marlborough, and Jack Tilton galleries in New York and galerie m in Germany in the 1980s. In 1972, Gorchov installed two of his "experiments in neocontructivism: multipaneled stacks of heraldic monochromes" [5] at the Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse, New York. One of these stacked works, titled Set, was later included in Rooms, the inaugural exhibition at P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center in New York in 1976, while the other, titled Entrance, was also exhibited at P.S. 1 in 1979. In 2006 Gorchov's work was again shown at P.S. 1 in a solo show titled Ron Gorchov: Double Trouble.


Gorchov is sometimes known as a "perennially emerging artist.".[6] His first appearance on the scene was in 1960, when he was included in the Whitney Museum's Young America 1960: Thirty American Painters Under Thirty-Six exhibition. Some years later Gorchov was rediscovered by Dorothy Miller, then a curator at MoMA, who chose him for Art in America's "New Talent U.S.A.: Painting."

Gorchov was part of a group of artists working in Manhattan in the 1960s and 70s that was responding to the concept of "Action Painting" as defined by Harold Rosenberg, a concept that purported to demolish pictorial conventions and held as suspect the notions of facility and harmonious composition.[7] His work shows an affinity with that of Arshile Gorky (Gorchov was at one point affiliated with Gorky's mentor John D. Graham), Joel Shapiro and Richard Tuttle.[8] He was a mentor to Willem de Kooning and friendly with Mark Rothko.[9]


  1. ^ Ron Gorchov, Answers to Gavin Spanierman Questionnaire, 2007
  2. ^ Robert Storr, catalog essay, 1990
  3. ^ Ron Gorchov with Robert Storr and Phong Bui, The Brooklyn Rail, September 2006
  4. ^ Ron Gorchov with Robert Storr and Phong Bui, The Brooklyn Rail, September 2006
  5. ^ Robert Storr, ArtForum, September 2005
  6. ^ Robert Storr, catalog essay, 1990
  7. ^ Robert Storr, catalog essay, 1990
  8. ^ Missing in action: Robert Storr on Ron Gorchov, ArtForum, September 2005
  9. ^ Robert Storr, catalog essay, 1990