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to go to. Jorge Queiroz | Arshile Gorky

Calouste Gulbenkian Museum -Temporary Exhibition Gallery

 8 Jul –17 Oct 2022

An exhibition that brings together a prominent American artist of the 1940s and one of the most

creative Portuguese contemporary artists.

Scheduled to open to the public on 8 July, this exhibition gathers a selection of drawings and paintings by two artists represented at the Gulbenkian Foundation Modern Art Centre Collection, who come from completely different historical and cultural backgrounds: Arshile Gorky was born in Armenia in 1904 and died in the USA in 1948 and Jorge Queiroz lives in Lisbon, the city where he was born in 1966.

 Imagined by Jorge Queiroz and curated by Ana Vasconcelos, the exhibition ”to go to” establishes a stimulating dialogue between works produced by Gorky in the 1940s, when the artist achieved full maturity and a visual language entirely of his own, and works by Queiroz, some of which created especially for this exhibition. Queiroz planned the project like an installation, conceiving a space where his and Gorky’s works, placed side by side, encourage a dialogue where differences are affirmed as well as similarities resound.

 Due to its long-standing relationship with Armenia, the Gulbenkian Foundation has a long-term loan of 57 works by Arshile Gorky, property of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern), in New York, and another three works in the Modern Art Centre collection. From this set, Jorge Queiroz selected 15 paintings and drawings, joined by an exceptional painting that came from the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Last Painting (The Black Monk), which dates from 1948 and was inspired by a short story by Chekhov. This was probably Gorky’s last painting, as it was found on the artist’s easel in his studio following his suicide in Sherman, Connecticut, 1948.

 Opposite this painting, on the other side of the room, Queiroz displays five canvases made for the exhibition, in which he painted over screen-printed lines, as though on writing paper, evoking his reading of Gorky’s extensive and recently published correspondence. The exhibition also includes another three paintings and a video by Queiroz, made specifically for this project, as well as several of his earlier works, on canvas and on paper, in a total of 23 works.

 The title of the exhibition suggests a biunivocal correspondence, this palindrome (capicua in Portuguese) of words summarises the relative position between the works on display, the two artists and the observer. In the words of Queiroz: “I think it’s a graphic image that goes in two directions: whether backwards or forwards the result is the same. For me, graphically, it’s a face. Also two men with hats, crossing a bridge.”

 A catalogue of the exhibition, with texts by Benjamin Weil, Ana Vasconcelos, Jorge Queiroz and Alexander Nagel, and a colour reproduction of all the exhibited works will also be published.

 Jorge Queiroz (1966) lives and works in Lisbon. He studied painting and drawing at Ar.Co, in Lisbon, and took part in an exchange programme with the Royal College of Art, in London, promoted by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, for which he was awarded a scholarship. He has participated in several collective exhibitions since 1989 and, from 1995 onwards, he begins to exhibit individually. He was awarded a grant by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation to obtain a Master’s in Fine Arts at the School of Visual Arts in New York. His participation in the Venice, São Paulo and Berlin biennales are important moments in the internationalisation of his work. Throughout the 2000s, he held several solo exhibitions in Portugal and abroad and took part in several group exhibitions in important museological institutions. He has won several prizes, amongst which the “Sovereign Portuguese Art Prize” (2022) stands out. He is represented in numerous public and private collections, both in Portugal and in France, USA, Germany, Spain and Italy.


Arshile Gorky (1904-1948) was born around 1904 in the village of Khorkom, on the shores of Lake Van, Armenia, under the name Vosdanik Adoian. Following the Armenian genocide, in 1920, he emigrated to the USA, where he attended the New School of Design in Boston, the National Academy of Design and the Grand Central School of Art in New York. At the latter school he taught from 1926 to 1932. From 1930, his name began to be noticed in the New York art milieu. In 1937, the Whitney Museum of American Art bought his first painting. The 1940s were a period of gradual artistic affirmation, marked by a great deal of production, by his participation in various group exhibitions – such as the majority of the annual exhibitions organised by the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Museum of Modern Art, on contemporary North-American art -, as well as by the presentation of two important solo exhibitions at the Julien Levy Gallery, a prominent New York art gallery, which represented him from 1944 onwards. Following a period of serious personal tribulations, Gorky committed suicide in 1948. Despite his premature death at the peak of his career, he is considered one of the most renowned American artists of the mid-twentieth century and was instrumental in the post-war eruption of American abstract expressionism.

Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation

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