On 11 August of this year, Jackson Pollock died from a car crash due to his drunken driving. He had his girlfriend (though he was still married to artist Lee Krasner) and her friend with him. The friend was killed and the girlfriend survived.
Pollock rocketed to everyman’s fame due to a 1949 3 page article on him. I won’t get into all the aspects of what I think of his work or the work of abstract expressionism at the time. What was happening was timing. Prior to this period Paris was the epi-center of art, but a group of Harvard educated art critics changed this. They presented the rough and tumble avant-garde American artist as the new voice (or eyes) of a new world. His connection with the wealthy gallery and art guru, Peggy Guggenheim didn’t hurt. In many ways Pollock is a good example of life and art mirroring one another. We are coming out of the 1940’s into the post war 50’s and image, advertising, and persona are becoming more important than ever before. As TV will appear and magazines by the score, advertising will kick into full drive, so an artist who is all about HE is the perfect ‘Greatest Living Artist of Our Time” as the Life article told us.
His work, which is to me at best decorative, is certainly a good back drop for the time. Here one of his images from the 1951 Vogue is in perfect harmony with the early 1950’s color scheme of pink, black, grey and taupe.
His work even affected the interiors of the 1950’s and spatter painted floors were available on counter tops and floor tiles as well as ‘How to’ in ladies magazines. Many rumpus room basements received this treatment. Even ceramics felt the effect.
After his 1949 Life article he all but abandoned the ‘drip style’ and his work became darker and reintroduced the figure as seen in the 1951 piece.
I think his death of self-indulgence, alcoholism and sudden fame is very fitting for the coming decade. Many stars and singers will succumb to such. Too much too fast and already someone to step in and take their place was to be the new marketing of the human creative individual. Like the new paper towels, simply rip, wipe and toss away. In so many ways the roller coaster was beginning.
I shall return tomorrow hopefully with some images of my finished dress and some Blackberry Jam. I may have made my decision on a tenant and am trying to get as many things done along with that so as I do not focus on the frustration that is being a Landlord.
Until tomorrow, then, Happy Homemaking.