reviews

  • Arshile Gorky, Painting, ca. 1944, oil on canvas, 65 3⁄4 x 70 1⁄4".

    Arshile Gorky

    Philadelphia Museum of Art

    THERE WERE TWO Arshile Gorkys to be found in this retrospective: Gorky the Authentic, and Gorky the Faker. As the exhibition made clear, most of Gorky’s work teeters on the fulcrum point between these two categories. The installation in Philadelphia began with Gorky’s self-portrait of circa 1937, the one with haunting eyes and lumpy, fingerless hands that barely support an insubstantial palette. Next to the portrait, a wall label shared details of Gorky’s tragic life story—of his mother’s death by starvation, his survival of the Armenian genocide, his eventual suicide. Thus was Gorky the

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