DC -- Donald W. Reynolds Center (Archives of American Art) -- Exhibit: Jackson Pollock, Memories Arrested in Space:
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Description of Pictures: Memories Arrested in Space: a centennial tribute to Jackson Pollock from the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art
January 28, 2012 – May 15, 2012
Exhibited in Washington, D.C. at the Lawrence A. Fleischman Gallery
Jackson Pollock (1912–1956) is an American icon. Creator of rhythmic and energetic “action painting,” he is internationally hailed as a leading figure in Abstract Expressionism.
Born in Wyoming and raised in Arizona and California, he moved to New York City in 1930. Working through a variety of influences, from Regionalism and Surrealism to Native American art, Pollock arrived at a unique pictorial language that he called “direct painting,” which created the visual equivalent of emotions and sensations. The technique was also a channel for positive energy and an antidote to Pollock’s own internal conflicts.
Although Pollock’s career was short–a mere 12 years between his first solo exhibition and his last–he decisively shaped the direction of painting after World War II. Both his art and his personality fulfilled the needs of an era that questioned traditional cultural values and hailed individual freedom of expression.
Pollock’s singular history is richly documented in the Archives of American Art, principally in the papers donated by his wife, the painter Lee Krasner (1908–1984), but also in those of his eldest brother Charles (1902–1988), and of his friends and associates. This exhibition, its title taken from one of Pollock’s own statements, celebrates the centenary of his birth, the magnitude of his achievement, and his enduring legacy.
Helen A. Harrison
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POLLOC_120213_018.JPG: Age 2, feeding the ducks on the Arizona farm, California, 1914
A Life in Pictures:
The youngest of five brothers, Pollock was an adorable, tow-headed toddler who grew into a handsome youth. By the time his family settled in Los Angeles, he had begun to think about becoming an artist. But even as a teenager he was abusing alcohol and experiencing mood swings that would plague him throughout his life.
POLLOC_120213_025.JPG: Age 10, with his dog Gyp, Orland, California, 1922
POLLOC_120213_029.JPG: Age 17, Los Angeles, CA, 1929
POLLOC_120213_032.JPG: Age 24 (right), with David Alfaro Siqueiros and George Cox, New York City, 1936.
Pollock joined a workshop run by Mexican muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros, who encouraged experimentation with liquid commercial paints instead of conventional art materials. This was Pollock's first exposure to the print-pouring technique.
POLLOC_120213_084.JPG: Marriage Certificate, Jackson Pollock and Lenore Krassner, Marble Collegiate Church, New York, October 25, 1945.
Krasner later changed the spelling of her last name, dropping the second s.
Pollock joined a workshop run by Mexican muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros, who encouraged experimentation with liquid commercial paints instead of conventional art materials. This was Pollock's first exposure to paint-pouting techniques.
During World War II, Pollock began to adopt the improvisational approach that would be his landmark. He was now living with fellow painter Lee Krasner. Peggy Guggenheim's gallery, Art of This Century, presented his first solo exhibition, and Guggenheim commissioned a mural for her town house.
In 1945, Pollock and Krasner married and moved to a homestead in Springs on eastern Long Island, where they both thrived in the peaceful rural surroundings. In a converted storage barn, Pollock perfected his pouring technique.
Under the care of a local doctor, Pollock was sobert for two years, and he became highly productive. His exhibitions in the US and abroad were widely reviewed. Articles in Life magazine and The New Yorker, and a color film of him at work by Hans Namuth and Paul Falkenberg, added to his notoriety.
In early 1951, Pollock began a series of black paintings on unprimed canvas, which were praised by critics but scorned by collectors. The following year, he started to earn a good income from sales of earlier work, while his productivity, hampered by drink and depression, declined.
POLLOC_120213_099.JPG: At Springs, the Pollocks often hosted visitors, and encouraged other artists to buy or rent in the neighborhood.
Pollock family reunion, Springs, Summer 1950. Front row: Karen McCoy, Jeremy Pollock, Jonathan Pollock.
Middle row: Argoie McCoy, Charles Pollock, Marie Pollock.
Back row: Jackson, Lee, Jay Pollock. Alma Pollock, Sanford (Sande) McCoy, Elizabeth Pollock.
In the 1930s, Jackson's brother Sanford had changed his surname to McCoy, which was their father Le Roy's birth name. As a teenager, Le Roy McCoy was adopted by a family named Pollock, who gave him their surname.
POLLOC_120213_108.JPG: Jackson Pollock's passport, issued July 21, 1955.
Plans were made to visit Europe in 1956, but as Pollock's career and marriage began to unravel, he decided not to go. Krasner sailed for Europe alone, while Pollock remained in Springs with his lover, Ruth Kligman. On August 11, 1956, Pollock died in an automobile accident about a mile from home.
POLLOC_120213_117.JPG: Letter from Lee Krasner to Jackson Pollock, July 22, 1956.
Three weeks later, Pollock died in an automobile accident on Springs-Fireplace Road, about a mile from home.
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