Private Days: December 6 – 7
Public Days: December 8 – 10
Survey Sector, Booth S5
Miami Beach Convention Center
For Art Basel Miami Beach’s Survey sector, Vito Schnabel Gallery presents a solo booth focusing on the work of the late American painter Ron Gorchov (1930-2020). The booth will feature six exceptional paintings from the 1970s, which was one of the most significant periods of the artist’s career.
Ron Gorchov began working with curved surface paintings in 1967, when he created his first curved canvas painting in Mark Rothko’s studio. Gorchov was best known for helping to spearhead the shaped canvas movement as part of a group of New York artists in the 1960s and ‘70s that included Frank Stella, Richard Tuttle, Blinky Palermo, and Ellsworth Kelly. The artist pushed painting to its extreme, working in his Brooklyn, NY studio until his death in August 2020. His artwork is in many prominent collections, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; The Detroit Institute of Arts, Michigan; The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; and The Everson Museum of Art, New York.
Gorchov sought a new dimension in painting through his gently curved stretchers that bow inward and out, creating a volumetric, topological space. Each painting confronts the relationship between the perceived object, the space around it, and the viewer’s psychological experience. As noted critic and curator Robert Storr avers, Gorchov’s paintings “subject the act of looking.”
Gorchov was masterful in his handling of paint, able to achieve a phenomenal viscosity and texture. He held a deep understanding of color and pigment, and the qualities that would motivate it to sit in a frontal way on the surface of his canvas. Fascinated by solvents and oils, he used these mediums to dilute his paints, adding acetone, linseed or lavender oil, paint strippers, and silver radiator paint to negate color in the same way white pigment does.
Vito Schnabel Gallery’s booth features six paintings from the 1970s, including one of his earliest shaped canvases, Life, from 1971. Also on view are three later works from the decade, Lure II (1976), Untitled (1976–77), and The Tyger (1978). This group of six works shows Gorchov’s development during this time, and documents the emergence of his signature dual vertical marks on each canvas. Archetypal in their compelling simplicity of form, these distinctive but mysterious floating biomorphic bodies exist in states of flux and becoming.
Vito Schnabel presented his first solo exhibition with Ron Gorchov in 2005. At that time, Gorchov’s work had not been exhibited in over a decade, and the show ignited a resurgence of interest in the artist, with MoMA PS1 subsequently mounting a solo exhibition the following year. In 2013, when Schnabel opened his first permanent space in New York, the inaugural exhibition was a solo show of Gorchov’s paintings. Schnabel continued his collaboration with Gorchov until the artist’s death in 2020, organizing exhibitions of his work in London, St. Moritz, and New York.