The Making of ‘Arshile Gorky: The Plow and The Song’

  • 19 June 2018
  • Directed by Cosima Spender Edited by Valerio Bonelli © 2018 Peacock Pictures Courtesy The Arshile Gorky Foundation and Hauser & Wirth

‘When you read a book of documents, the editor has put them in a certain order, and he’s added evidence from other sources, but the responsibility of making sense of the book is with the reader.’ – Matthew Spender

Editor Matthew Spender discusses the making of ‘The Plow and the Song: A Life in Letters and Documents’ with Saskia Spender, President of the Arshile Gorky Foundation and granddaughter of Arshile Gorky, and Maro Gorky, daughter of Arshile Gorky. A remarkable addition to the ever-evolving scholarship on Arshile Gorky, this publication chronicles the artist’s life and work through his personal letters, correspondence between friends and family, and key contemporary reviews.

Building upon Matthew Spender’s 2009 book ‘Arshile Gorky: Goats on the Roof’ this release features never-before-published materials, including diary entries from Gorky’s late wife, as well as new letters and archival images. Now celebrated as a seminal figure in the shift to abstraction that transformed twentieth-century American art, Gorky struggled to gain critical recognition throughout his life. His evolution as an artist was marked by constant cycles of radical reinvention as well as periods of profound personal tragedies. Designed by Johannes Breyer with Robert Janes, ‘The Plow and the Song’ integrates a wide array of artwork as well as archival materials, offering a comprehensive and dynamic portrait of the artist.