WATERTOWN, MA – February 16, 2016 – On Saturday, March 12, at 2:00 p.m., The Armenian Museum of America (AMA) will be hosting the opening of a touring exhibition entitled Yenovk der Hagopian: The Untold Story of An Armenian- American Artist. by late artist Yenovk der Hagopian. The opening will include a reception held in the Adele & Haig Der Manuelian Galleries on the third floor of the Museum. This event is free and open to the public, and light refreshments will be served at the reception. The exhibition will be on display at ALMA until May 24, Der Hagopian’s 116th birthday.
The Untold Story exhibition will display more than 20 works, including paintings on canvas, metal engravings, wood carvings and music from Yenovk’s albums. The Bishop Gallery and the Estate of the late artist launched the global tour of the exhibition in Brooklyn, NY on April 24, 2015, the 100th Anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. Additional tour stops will include, but not limited to Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Detroit, Toronto, Armenia and Europe.
Der Hagopian’s work, which serves as a history lesson on Armenian culture, will be displayed for all to see 50 years after his death thanks to The Bishop Gallery owners Erwin John and Stevenson Dunn, who insist, “no longer will his pieces be condemned to a storage closet. His work speaks to the history and legacy of a people. A history deeply rooted in pain; a pain that served as a catalyst for his creativity. After learning about this artwork through artist and historian Carlos Pinto, we thought it was imperative for the work to be shown, particularly because the arts play a significant role in preserving cultures that were completely or nearly extinct due to genocide.”
ALMA is no stranger to Der Hagopian’s work. Before his death in 1966, Yenovk constructed seven large wooden replicas of ancient Armenian churches-each several feet high. These were to be a part of a larger installation on a four-acre parcel of land he bought in Connecticut. However, Yenovk suffered a heart attack a week before they were to be moved and the seventh church, a model of the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, was never finished. The churches have been displayed in an exhibition at the Armenian Museum of America and are currently part of the museum collections.
Born on May 24, 1900, in Ishkhanikom, Western Armenia, Yenovk der Hagopian was the son of an ordained priest and lifelong confidante to the famed “Father of Abstract Expressionism,” Arshile Gorky. The Armenian Benevolent Union stated, “There is an honesty and deep emotional feeling in these early carvings of mourners, immigrants and survivors of the massacre of the Armenians.” Yenovk was said to have created his pieces of Armenia in its exactness from memory, and even recreated an Armenian landscape, complete with lakes and mountains, in his own backyard.
Proud to be an American, Yenovk migrated to Massachusetts in 1923 to live in Watertown, where he reunited with Gorky and continued his art studies. It was also in America that he recorded Armenian folk songs and started a family. He married Nevart Kalarchian on August 28, 1948. Der Hagopian’s artwork was discovered by his wife’s granddaughter, after her family decided to renovate their home. She was intrigued by the musings held in storage for decades, and decided to explore the life of this artist. On learning more about his work she explains, “I was connecting with a country I knew little about, while educating myself and my family on the greatest American art movement of the 20th century.”
The discovery of Yenovk’s work has inspired the Kalarchian family to start a fund in his name. Aimed at preserving the works found in their grandmother’s storate, the family also hopes they can raise enough funds to continue to have Der Hagopian’s art teach of Armenia’s rich culture around the world. To donate, supporters can visit http://www.yenovkderhagopian.com/donations.
About The Bishop Gallery
The Bishop Gallery is a contemporary art gallery located in the heart of Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. Launched in 2012, we offer an innovative multimedia space, where the work of cutting-edge, emerging artists can be fully realized and experienced, while connecting our growing community of art lovers and culture seekers to the ever-expanding world of art.
About The Armenian Museum of America
The Armenian Museum of America (ALMA), located in the heart of Watertown, Mass., has the distinct mission to collect and maintain Armenian artifacts, textiles and publications in order to preserve the Armenian heritage and serve as a national repository and information center on the Armenian people, history and culture. Armenian Museum of America is located at 65 Main St., Watertown, MA 02472.