A few months ago we made another trip into the district to visit the National Gallery of Art which houses Jackson Pollock's "Number 1, 195o (Lavender Mist)." I went mostly to get my Van Gogh fix and to look at Rothko's work which I posted about earlier. I took a photo of Craig in front of Pollock's painting and reminded myself to put the movie "Pollock" in my Netflix que and finally received and watched it this weekend.
I can say I have a greater understanding and sympathy for Pollock and his work after seeing the movie which is based on the Pulitzer Prize winning book "Jackson Pollock: An American Saga." On You Tube I found a clip of a movie made in the 50's of the artist working and below were at least 1oo comments marking every spot on the spectrum of opinions. Not much has changed. His work is still as controversial as it was in his time. Sometimes it seems the more ugly and hateful a critic is about an artist the more it appears that they are only jealous of the success and recognition of that artist. I can totally see right through that sort of criticism aimed at Pollock even to this day.
In thinking about the drip paintings, whether they are a mindless and reckless slinging of paint or carefully thought out paintings is up for debate, but one thing is for certain, they are original. Jackson was in the right place, at the right time in the culture with an original idea. Note that any artist who would paint that way now would be considered as copying Pollock because it was a style uniquely his. I think this is worth something. It cannot be repeated.
It is interesting to me that the drip paintings, or "action paintings", only encompass a portion of his work. Both his early and late works incorporated the figure and I suppose not many would recognize these works. I decided to post an earlier painting of Pollock's for this week's "What's that Painting." It is still abstract, but not of the drip period and thus probably relatively overlooked.
"The She-Wolf", 1943, Oil, Gouche, and Plaster on Canvas