3 April 2006


My blog is morphing into an art appreciation blog! I'm going to have to cut off my ear and live in a garret. I post this painting in honour of Dirk from Queensland, Australia. It is of course, Jackson Pollock's "Blue Poles" painted in 1952. I don't recall the year that it was purchased at massive expense by the National Gallery of Australia but this canvas caused a huge debate about Australia's priorities and its cultural identity.
Pollock was born in Wyoming cowboy country in 1912, passing away in 1956. To be truthful, I have never given his painting much thought. I hate to deride any modern art because I always think that maybe I'm missing something but until somebody convinces me otherwise I think Pollock's work is over-rated. It's paint, lots of paint, dribbled, splashed, dropped, teased - but what does it all mean? And why are those Australians below studying the canvas so intently? What is it that they see that I don't? The confusion of the twentieth century? The quest for another non-naturalistic form of expression that might better suit the modern world? Pollock's troubled soul? Frankly, I'd gain far more from looking at Australian aboriginal art - cave drawings and suchlike... Amusingly, Dirk says he's usually a "Palestinian" when it comes to art, so what was it about this canvas that blew him away thirty years back? Help!


  1. I think it's interesting how some paintings are titled in a painfully obvious way, and others....are a little more muddled.

  2. Anonymous10:36 pm

    Goodness YP! Don't go cutting off an ear! It will upset the balance of the mountie hat. ;)

    I always wanted to live in a quaint garret in Paris, and spend my days painting and writing, or sipping coffee in a street-side cafe, discussing literature and politics with friends.

  3. When I was in Venice, there was a retrospective of Jackson's work through the years. He started of as quite naturalistic recorder of what he saw arounfd him. Any observor of those early works though would probably think "hmmm adequate, but the draughtsmanship is poor." Still, that doesn't matter when you are simply dribbling paint on a canvas.

    I could do that. All I need is the ability to keep a straight face whilst mouthing intellectual bollocks about "my work".

  4. A few spelling mistakes there - red wine. Sadly I can't edit so please accept my apologies.

  5. I got to see a Jackson Pollock exhibit some years ago. Looking at the paintings up-close, I saw forms and figures behind the squiggles. "Oh!" I thought. "This is what the fuss is all about."

    One can go on about hermaneutics, what makes art actually be art (or literature be literature, etc.). I believe in intrinsic value, but I don't think it affects everyone the same way. In grad school, my boyfriend (at the time) and I went to the Hirschorn museum. I wasn't too impressed with the current exhibit there, and the boyfriend scoffed, "You want your art to be PRETTY." What a self-pompous prat, I thought (and wish I'd said). It was simply that the exhibit I saw didn't affect me one way or the other. I was indifferent to the paintings. They didn't stir me. Art should stir.

  6. Thirty years later and I've still got no idea. I don't 'see' anything when I look at it, although it is very unimpressive screen-sized, it just fascinates me.

  7. This reminds me of youthful visits to the old Tate Gallery where you could see something like Millais in one room and then 'Yellow islands' by your man here in the next. I always found it inexplicably interesting and it kind of draws you in. It's something you just stare at to see what comes into your mind like psychatrists ink blots. Maybe it just spoke to my state of mind at the time. His stuff doesn't move me nowadays. It's dogs playing snooker for me now. I hope you post some more paintings, maybe a Turner as he's what I used to go to the Tate to see really.

    Brian Sewell is on holiday

  8. actually I just remembered the scene in Annie Hall where W.A meets a girl in front of a J.P painting in a gallery. he asks her..

    'What does this Pollock say to you?'
    'the blackness of life, futilty of existence, pain, confusion' ( or something to that effect)
    'what are you doing saturday?'
    'committing sucide'

    it takes three comments to be spamming right?

  9. I don't like his work. According to him, he was influenced by aboriginal painting, Native American et al, but I don't see it.
    I've seen his earlier works and they don't impress me either. He died in a car with two young women. Well one of them survived, but he was cheating on his wife.
    He was also schitzophrenic or something. He was ok as long as he didn't drink.
    The movie was horrible.
    His wife, Lee Krasner, probably had more talent than he did but she gave it all up for him.

    Look at some of the Dada(loosly) artists. Arp for one. Took some pieces of paper dropped them on another piece of papaer.. either painted it on where it fell or maybe just glued them on and called it art.
    And then there is the woman who used her menstral blood to paint her pictures.

  10. Love Turner, one of my favorites is
    Caspar David Friedrich.

    Check it out


Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.

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