Jackson Pollock: Every Good Artists Paints What He Is

Jackson Pollock, In Reflection
“Painting is self-discovery. Every good artist paints what he is.” -Jackson Pollock

The Depression Era

“During the Depression, President Franklin D. Roosevelt started a program called the Public Works of Art Project, one of many intended to jumpstart the economy. Pollock and his brother Sanford, known as Sande, both found work with PWA’s mural division. The WPA program resulted in thousands of works of art by Pollock and contemporaries such as José Clemente Orozco, Willem de Kooning and Mark Rothko.

“But despite being busy with work, Pollock could not stop drinking. In 1937, he began receiving psychiatric treatment for alcoholism from a Jungian analyst who fueled his interest in symbolism and Native American art. In 1939, Pollock discovered Pablo Picasso’s show at the Museum of Modern Art. Picasso’s artistic experimentation encouraged Pollock to push the boundaries of his own work.” -Biography

IN DEPTH:

WATCH: Pollock
Starring: Ed Harris & Marcia Gay Harden
“POLLOCK traces the turbulent life of the well-known artist, Jackson Pollock. Although his wife, LeeKrasner, is dedicated to carving Pollock's name into art history, Pollock finds himself in a downward spiral that threatens to destroy not only his marriage and promising career but, perhaps, even his life.” …(more).

BOOK: Jackson Pollock
by Ellen G. Landau
“How did Jackson Pollock become a cult figure for the Beat Generation? And what caused his reputation to continue to soar? This compelling and original Abrams classic, now back in print, locates the artist in the continuum of his times, recreating the social and cultural milieu of New York in the 1940s and 1950s. With extensive knowledge of Pollock’s habits (much of it gained through interviews), his reading, his conversation, and the exhibitions he visited, the author retraces many of the far-flung sources of Pollock’s work. A wealth of comparative photographs that illustrate paintings by artists Pollock admired further explains the work of this complex, tragic, and immeasurably influential figure. Pollock’s big, bold canvases are reproduced in five colors to convey the brilliance of his network of tones.” …(more)

WATCH: Who the #$&% Is Jackson Pollock?
directed by: Harry Moses
"Who the #$&% Is Jackson Pollock? is a documentary following a woman named Teri Horton, a 73-year-old former long-haul truck driver from California, who purchased a painting from a thrift shop for $5, only later to find out that it may be a Jackson Pollock painting; she had no clue at the time who Jackson Pollock was, hence the name of the film. "According to an interview from the film, Horton purchased the painting from a California thrift shop as a gift for a friend who was feeling depressed. Horton thought the bright colors were cheery, but when the dinner-table-sized painting proved too large to fit into her friend's trailer, Horton set it out among other items at a yard sale, where a local art teacher spotted it and suggested that the work could have been painted by Pollock due to the similarity to his action painting technique. At one point Horton and her friend decided the painting would be good for target practice, but they never got around to trying that activity.[2] The film depicts Horton's attempts to authenticate and sell the painting as an original work by Pollock. Its authenticity was doubtful, because the painting was purchased at a thrift store, is unsigned, and is without provenance.In this documentary, veteran filmmaker Harry Moses exposes the controversy in the world of high priced artwork. He paints a vivid picture of how art is bought and sold in America."(more)...
BOOK: Jackson Pollock, An American Saga
by Steven Naifeh
Jackson Pollock was more than a great artist, he was a creative force of nature. He changed not only the course of Western art, but our very definition of "art." He was the quintessential tortured genius, an American Vincent van Gogh, cut from the same unconforming cloth as his contemporaries Ernest Hemingway and James Dean--and tormented by the same demons; a "cowboy artist" who rose from obscurity to take his place among the titans of modern art, and whose paintings now command millions of dollars. 

Here, for the first time, is the life behind that extraordinary achievement--the disjointed childhood, the sibling rivalry, the sexual ambiguity, and the artistic frustration out of which both artist and art developed. 

Based on more than 2,000 interviews with 850 people, Jackson Pollock is the first book to explore the life of a great artist with the psychological depth that marks the best biographies of literary and political figures. In eight years of research the authors have uncovered previously unknown letters and documents, gained access to medical and psychiatric records, and interviewed scores of the artist's friends and acquaintances whose stories had never been told. They were also the first biographers in twenty years to benefit from the cooperation of Pollock's widow, Lee Krasner... (more)