Jackson Pollock 51

from kottke

In 1950, Swiss photographer Hans Namuth took some photos of Jackson Pollock painting some of his drip paintings, which were used to illustrate a 1951 article in ArtNews. Along with photos published alongside a piece in Life in 1949, they made Pollock and his unusual technique famous.

Namuth returned with a film camera and captured the artist painting in full color motion in a short film called Jackson Pollock 51.

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5 Responses to Jackson Pollock 51

  1. Brandon Ruiz October 19, 2018 at 6:41 pm #

    There is a distinct beauty in art. One that can’t be found in anything else. Art is one of the only things in our society today that has the power to make people feel emotion just through looking at something. The thing about art is that there is no precise rulebook to what you can or can’t do. There are tons of variations of different painting styles, different types of canvases, different types of paints, different types of brushes, and tons of other kinds of factors that are given up to the artist themselves. The artist determines what their interpretation of something is or how they want to symbolize something. Each artist is unique in their own way.

    The artist Jackson Pollock demonstrate this fact perfectly. The way he uses precise movements of his feet and arms in order to create the amazing lines and textures that are present in his paintings. Also he very uniquely always paints on the floor because he says that’s what makes him feel most “at home” and because it makes him feel more a part of the actual painting.

    Although it is a beautiful thing how unique each artist, being an artist can sometimes lend itself to depression and alcohol and drug abuse. This is because the action of painting in and of itself is a solitary task. Artists usually complete paintings while alone in a quiet area. This fact combined with the expansive imagination and personality of artists can create a combination that sometimes lead to depression and other types of mental illness. Sadly this was the case with Jackson Pollock.

    Jackson Pollock was well known to be an alcoholic, but went sober for two years before starting to work with a Swiss photographer named Hans Namuth. While working with Namuth he suddenly poured himself a glass of bourbon after coming inside from painting. After this Namuth and Pollock got into an argument, this caused Pollock to get angry and threaten Namuth’s life by picking up cowbells and threatening to hit him with them. This mental instability and alcoholism later led to his death six years later.

    Pollock isn’t the only famous painter to heavily abuse substances. The famous painters Andy Warhol and Vincent Van Gogh also suffered from substance abuse. Andy Warhol, Vincent Van Gogh, and Jackson Pollock are three of the most famous artists in history and they were all substance abusers. I don’t think that that’s a coincidence.

  2. Anthony L October 19, 2018 at 9:39 pm #

    The rise in the popularity of Jackson Pollock’s work is emblematic of the lowering of standards within modern culture. Just like any other profession, painting is a skill. The ability to take disparate shapes and arrange them in such a way to invoke different forms is a skill that takes many years to hone. For example, in the Orthodox Christian iconographic tradition, icon painters must train for ,”…many years to become a good painter. According to the master iconographer Archimandrite Zenon, 10,000 hours of practice are needed to become proficient,” This need to master your craft is not limited to religious paintings, it is something every painter should strive for. Although Pollock did study, “under Thomas Hart Benton at the Art Students League of New York,” the paintings he is remembered for, his drip paintings, do not demonstrate any professional skill or finesse. These paintings are the essence of chaos, disorder, and meaninglessness. Pollock’s work is described as performative in the article, which is fitting. He seems to be trying to bring attention to himself rather than create a well-made piece of art.

  3. Anthony L October 19, 2018 at 9:40 pm #

    His art was a part of a larger trend known colloquially as modern art. This trend is characterized by the discarding of the traditional techniques and rigor of art in favor of unskilled artistic statements. Before this movement, artists still made statements with their art, but these statements were backed up by skill. They would use their skills to portray their message. “The world’s best painting was no use in your mind if you didn’t have the brush skills,” The modern art movement put expression above ability, to the point where rather than pondering the message of the piece, the layman thinks, “I could have done that,”

  4. Anthony L October 19, 2018 at 9:42 pm #

    Also, this criticism does not mean that all art must be in a realist style. The aforementioned Orthodox Christian icons are not made to exactly echo real life, nevertheless they are thoughtfully and skillfully composed to evoke spiritual realities. Even the “Indian sand painters of the West,” who inspired Pollock’s work demonstrate their skill and craftsmanship in their work. These religious works, despite being far from realistic, show the skill of the maker through their composition and patterns.

  5. Tess Coorens November 9, 2018 at 9:53 pm #

    I have heard of Jackson Pollock and his art before, and that is what made me look at this video. I think Pollock is an interesting man, he mentions that he paints direct and likes to feel more part with the painting by painting on the floor. He tries to express his feelings instead of illustrating them. Art has a certain way of bringing out emotion in people. But instead of trying to bring emotion to the people, he expresses his own.
    He is a different painter than others around his time and before him. Instead. Of learning different techniques and trying paint art in these styles, Pollock tries to be unique and does not follow any rules or regulations when painting. He did not study this certain type of painting for years to try and perfect it, he came up with his own. He does not have a certain technique. He just uses dripping paint a stick or a brush. When he feels like it he sometimes uses sand or pebbles or glass, but he chooses what he feels like and tries to let the painting live. Without realizing at the time Pollock created a whole new technique on its own. They named it after his technique, the drip style. Also referred to as action painting.
    I think Pollock has an interesting style of mind. He is a very down to earth artist, he lived with his wife on an island. He mostly worked on his paintings in a barn where there were multiple canvases. The process of a painting could take a while as he would relook at it after a while a reconsider what he did and did not like. Although this may be looked at as different stages while painting Pollock did not believe in strategy and says his form of art does not follow a plan. According to him his best pieces bring energy across the whole canvas and not just in the center.

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