Splatter in a Box

When I was a kid, my dad took me to the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) specifically to see the Jackson Pollocks. He wanted to show me that art was not so difficult. “You can do this too,” he said without a hint of irony. I should have asked, “Could I get the same amount of money for mine?” Since I was ten, what did I know about money, or art for that matter? What’s more Pollocks didn’t go for the millions they do today. Anyway, someone must have had the same idea as my dad. Now, thanks to The Jackson Pollack Artist Box anyone can make splatter paintings and release the Pollocks hiding inside.

Like my dad’s suggestion, however, The Box is no joke. Created by Helen A. Harrison, former New York Times art critic and currently Director of the Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center in East Hampton, Long Island, where Pollock and his wife Lee Krasner lived and worked, this is a tool for young and old to “liberate your imagination and stimulate your own creativity.” It contains paints, brush and a book that places Pollock in the context of art history and his times. The book also includes projects that follow Pollock’s techniques.  “The Jackson Pollock Artist Box is designed to introduce you to Pollock the person and Pollock the artist, and to provide projects that will put you in touch with his creative process.” In addition the package feels like a Pollock canvas.

Given the controversy in recent years surrounding the supposedly fake Pollocks in circulation, this may add to the problem. Then again, it may prove that only Pollock could be Pollock.

For Saturday’s Daily Heller 14′ pastrami sandwich, go here.

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  1. While I’m not a great fan of Jackson Pollock’s character, I’ve grown to admire his art after reading the excellent biography “Jackson Pollock: an American Saga” by Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith. An appreciation of his work really needs to be taken in the context of the times in which it was created, and this book reads like a Steinbeck novel. I highly recommend it.

    Also, whether you’re a fan of the splatter paintings or not, from a purely scientific angle, he may have indeed been onto something, as this Discover magazine article linking Pollock’s work with fractal science suggests: http://discovermagazine.com/2001/nov/featpollock

    Apparently, the human brain finds fractal imagery (a measureable component in artwork) to be aesthetically pleasing, and the further his career progressed, more fractal imagery emerged. And according to the article, this is something that is extremely difficult to emulate.