Jackson Pollock has a cookbook and it's delicious

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I never had any really strong opinions about Pollock’s paintings, but they did seem a little “easy” to me. Then I saw some of his canvases in person - especially the really big ones. They’re pretty stunning.


I was amazed when I saw a film of him working.

Also, are there any recipes for pollock?


I was lucky enough to visit NYC when a Pollock exhibit had just opened at MoMA. They did have a film of him working, maybe the one that @Boundegar mentioned. But what won me over, somehow, was a cigarette butt embedded in one of the paintings – he had apparently thrown it in as part of the action. That, and seeing the floor on which he used to work.

I had a print of [Number 14][1] from that visit, but it got lost in a move (along with everything else I had framed).

EDIT: What I actually came here to mention, then forgot, is that Wink lists the book for $20, but their Amazon link says $40.
[1]: http://www.jackson-pollock.org/number-14-gray.jsp

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Yes, his technique was amazing. It didn’t look easy.

Our cats’ favorite catnip toy is shaped like a fish, and has a Pollock-inspired design. They like to lick it, and after a while it gets soaked, which seems appropriate.

I saw Pollock’s paintings at MoMA. And I still don’t get it. It was fairly close to “The Absolutely Naked Fragrance” (which I assure you is wholly safe for work). I didn’t get that either.

It’s strange to think about this after reading How ‘gamer’ taste makes life harder for game developers. Few would bother with a vaguely-interactive mush of pixels, no matter how odd the programmer looked when he was coding it – or at least, few would consider paying tens of millions of dollars for the experience.

I didn’t like Pollock’s work when I first saw it as a kid at the Metropolitan Museum in NYC. In fact, I remarked to my parents that it looked like something I could do.

Years, later, now a teenager, I was in the Met and saw the same painting which suddenly showed its beauty and complexity. There is so much depth to his work, so many dimensions in the drips and drops if you take the time to look. Pollock’s work presaged the images of brain synapses scientists developed decades after his death. His technique was difficult and remarkable. Reportedly, he removed everything that resembled anything pictorial, that he might see in the world around him. He did something new and different that we can still live from and his apple pies were prize-winners too.

I’ve always loved Pollock’s work, and I’ve never seen any of it in person. It just straight away has a very pleasing quality to it, doesn’t require any deep thought to appreciate for me. It’s just a pleasing collection of colours really, placed at pleasing distances from one another.

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You made me think of Acme Novelty Library. It had an ad from “The Art of the School Institute in Chicago” that started with “Become an Artist! Mr. John Cage made $250 while doing absolutely nothing.” (You can see it (or try to see it) here in very tiny print; zoom in toward the right.)

One of the reasons I respect Ed Harris so much as an actor—he got so deep into his role for Pollock that he was able to re-create several of the artist’s paintings in real time for the camera.

And not just the drip paintings either.

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There’s a lot of context to Pollock’s work that will help you appreciate it:

  1. It was a reaction to the World Wars and Cold Wars and general nihilist attitude of the Europeans in art (they went minimalist, he went maximalist). It was also strongly against the mostly industrial- and Americana-influenced optimism of the then vogue American painters (Sheeler, Benton, O’Keeffe, Wyeth, etc.)
  2. He continued a nice long chain of American tortured romantics ceaselessly vacillating between idealism and despair (Melville, Poe, Fitzgerald)
  3. His work is nakedly personal and lacks even the veneer of a “studio creation” designed with any particular aims at being sold or admired or taken to; and it really was, as he himself declared it the work of an “unconscious other” inside him.
  4. Artistic creation as self-therapy taken to the extreme; duh.
  5. He was also interested in art in the negative - is “don’t follow the rules” a rule, and if so, what kind of art does it produce? So he would go add more paint to areas of his works he felt were too geometrical, too symmetical, too repetitive, too pictorial.
  6. And of course as mentioned here by Mark and the cigarettes, string, and trash he left embedded in his works, he was one of the first artists to be as interested (if not more) in the canvas as object rather than a mere 2-D representation of an image, and he would’ve told you the same thing Mark’s friend told him: that his works were meant to be seen and understood in person as things, not just pictures.
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I also understand that his work is a bit of a nightmare for art conservators since he used so many non-archival materials like house paint (which were much more affordable to buy in bulk than traditional oil paints).


It’s strange to think of Jackson Pollock as a cook. I mean, was the man ever not drunk? But I loved his art for its transgressive nature (can one cook transgressively?), and apparently he’s still painting in the afterlife, but has switched to more representational nudes. Someone should check to see if he actually endorses this cooking stuff…

I had that experience with Pollock too–the work is much more striking in person than in reproduction. I had a similar reaction to Jasper Johns, as well. You see a lot that isn’t apparent in a book or poster. Sometimes there just is no substitute for the actual experience.

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“Why does this cookbook just have ‘beer’ and ‘apathy’ as the only ingredients for everything?”

I read an article a few years back about how Pollock didn’t see the paintings the same way we observe them in a gallery. He was standing up perpendicular to them as they lay on the floor. Not suspended magically above them from twenty feet away. Really helped me see his work in a new light.


Jackson Pollock has a cookbook and it’s delicious

I’ve never eaten a book, so I’ll have to take your word for it.

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