9780870700699 / 0870700693

Jackson Pollock


Publisher:Museum of Modern Art



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About the book:

The almost mythic Jackson Pollock--a roughshod, ill-mannered, prodigiously ambitious, aggressive, alcoholic, tormented artist--is alive and unwell in this book. But Kirk Varnedoe and Pepe Karmel, the chief curator and adjunct assistant curator, respectively, of the New York Museum of Modern Art's Department of Painting and Sculpture, also go deeply into Pollock's art in eye-opening ways. This book is the catalogue for the retrospective of Pollock's art-shattering oeuvre at the New York Museum of Modern Art in the autumn of 1998 and London's Tate Gallery in the spring of 1999. It includes many biographical pictures as well as colour plates of Pollock's paintings, from the awkward but earnest early works to the late, great, famous canvases. Varnedoe's essay, aptly titled "Comet: Jackson Pollock's Life and Work," deftly invites the reader into Pollock's world, starting with his country studio: "The structure, often called a barn, is in fact more like a glorified tool shed." Karmel's essay, "Pollock at Work: The Films and Photographs of Hans Namuth," is a truly groundbreaking exploration of Pollock's technique. Karmel has scrutinised every frame of every piece of film, still or moving, ever taken of Pollock painting. He arrives at absolutely original conclusions: Pollock's all-over swirls of dripped and flung paint often began as figurative works and clearly relate to such all-American stalwarts as Thomas Hart Benton. Karmel makes countless other sharp observations, noting the difference, for example, between fast-looking marks and the slow, deliberate movements with which they were made (and vice versa). His essay is a work of brilliant scholarship, written thrillingly, and it will forever change the way any serious viewer looks at Pollock's paintings. It makes this volume absolutely essential for understanding the work of this great, sad artist. --Peggy Moorman

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