POSTED July 30 2013

Jack the Dripper: Jackson Pollock, the most cinematic of painters

Ed Harris and Marcia Gay Harden as Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner

Ed Harris and Marcia Gay Harden as Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner

Jack the Dripper, that’s what painter Jackson Pollock was dubbed — more for how he attacked his canvases than for how he dribbled rather than daubed. His paintings were dispatches from the front of the avant-garde, the spoils of an inner battle between paralysis and action, and had the unintended effect of relocating the capital of modernism from Paris to New York. Pollock approached his canvas as a pugilist might his opponent, which makes Ed Harris’ biopic of the artist one of the most cinematic movie portraits of the artist.

Pollock personified many contradictions of the artist, most powerfully the paradox that sometimes the very one’s own destruction is the price paid for the act of creation. Thoughts about Harris’ portrait of Pollock? Of its portrait of the marital conflict and codependency that made the artist’s works possible? Of its depiction of artistic breakthrough?

If you’re in Philadelphia, come join me at the Philadelphia Museum of Art on July 31 to see and talk about the film.


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