Ron Gorchov (4/15/1930 – 8/18/2020) RIP

About my Dad

IMG_0123

It was 1959, and I was six, when Ron left to live in a loft in SoHo. Before that I thought we would always be a family. He was my dad, and Joy was my mom. They met at the University of Illinois, and we moved to Manhattan when I was an infant.

Ron immediately got a job working as a lifeguard at Coney Island, He also worked for Buster Crabbe teaching swimming at night at “the old Summit Hotel across from the Waldorf-Astoria.”

Ron said, “But somehow we had time for everything. We had parties with friends. Took Michael everywhere. Joy had a piano and singing coaches and studied acting. I could see all the shows in one afternoon, after midnight talk to artists in bars, then paint all night and sleep three hours in the morning. It was exciting and we didn’t want to miss out on anything.”

The thing that some people misunderstand is that I still miss my dad from when I was little. I never liked the artist Ron much. I loved my dad. I loved his smell, and the physical affection he gave me.

Later, when I visited Ron the artist, I felt that he was mostly concerned about his image. He worried about how much his paintings were going for at auction. He admitted to me that he was in “show business.” It felt to me like he existed in a vicious commodity exchange. Other people set the prices on his output, and his worth was tied almost entirely to the values they assigned to his work.

The modern artist must produce similar and recognizable pieces in order to remain viable as a brand, and a producer of art. Mark Rothko painted endlessly more “Rothkos.”

By the late 1960s Ron had settled on his signature saddle shaped canvases. He continued to churn out these “Gorchovs’” until his death. Ron’s life reminds me of the story in Greek mythology of King Sisyphus. Zeus punished Sisyphus, and made him haul the same boulder up a hill every day. It was telling that it was Ron’s gallery that made the public announcement of his death. The gallery became his family, and to whom he was accountable.

A short eulogy for my dad:
My earliest memories are the ones I cherish. I have a photo of Ron and Joy at their wedding. They were so happy and crazy in love with each other. As a toddler I wasn’t afraid at the beach. I could play in the sand and then look around and always spot my parents. They were the tallest and most gorgeous people among all the people at the beach.

And Ron was a lifeguard, and he raced with the others to practice saves, and he rowed the great wooden boats, and he carried me on his shoulders, and I was so high in the air that nobody could see as far as I could see.

But the depth of their love wasn’t enough.

I loved my dad and I’ll miss him always.

Photos:

1. The photograph at the top is of me in 1959 when I was six years old. It was the year Ron left. The picture was taken by Dan Budnik, a friend of my mom and dad. Mr. Budnik was a well-known photographer, and sadly, he also passed away last week.

2. Ron and Joy on their wedding day:

1952 Joy and Ron wedding copy

Joy was an operatic singer, actress, and she studied piano seriously. In 1959 she bought a book on Gregg shorthand, taught herself the system, and went to work as a secretary to support me and my baby sister. Joy died in 2015 living alone in subsidized housing in Philadelphia.

3. Here is a wonderful studio shot of Joy from 1952:

JLundberg 1952-ish

One Response to “Ron Gorchov (4/15/1930 – 8/18/2020) RIP”

  1. Artspeak Eulogy « Log24 Says:

    […] Update of 1:16 PM ET the same day — […]

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