We will come back to idolatry next time. This is Friday, a good day for a small palate cleanser between courses. There a moral to this one. No one needs me to draw it. You will do it yourselves.

 

pollock.number-8
Jackson Pollock. Full Fathom Five (1949) Detail. Neuberger Museum, Purchase NY.

 

How many times have you read an Artist Statement that mentions—oh, so casually—that the artist listens to jazz while working? It has been more than half a century since Jackson Pollock wrapped himself around a tree in a drunken accident. Still, artists draw around themselves the mantle of inspiration-by-jazz—proxy for any number of awakening muses—that cloaks Pollock’s legacy. A wild, colonial lad brought up to date and living in the Hamptons.

Thing is, Pollock listened to just about everything. He was as promiscuous in music as in life. On canvas, however, he exerted exquisite control over the course and volume of paint that accumulated to create those celebrated drip paintings. He took great care to finesse the pools and drizzles, even to touching up the drips with a fine-haired brush. He is thought of as the Charlie Parker of painting. In truth, however, he was a Debussy. But exchange a title like “Full Fathom Five” for “Claire de Lune” and we out of the darkling, beckoning depths of artistic inspiration and into . . . well, the light.

 

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