JACKSON POLLOCK: Energy Made Visible by B. H. Friedman

JACKSON POLLOCK: Energy Made Visible

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

This is the first serious biography of Pollock and it is not likely to be superseded in the near future. Flashing back from his own first meeting with the artist -- Pollock drunk and near the end of his tether, insulting the author's irreproachable art collection -- he tracks Pollock's emergence from the Wyoming farm family that improbably produced five artists, the drinking begun in his teens as a manly posture and encouraged perhaps by the example of his successful teacher Benton, the charming taciturnity that switched often and suddenly to homicidal violence, his friends and milieu, and of course his work. Friedman can only speculate about the evolution of the final drip technique and its revolutionary esthetic -- creation itself as the thing abstracted -- but he writes with ease and competence about the paintings and art in general, and especially the art establishment which subtly and perhaps inadvertently exploited him (Greenburger's early championing, the fatal Life magazine spread, Peggy Guggenheim's ""pound of flesh"" suit for remaining works after his death). Pollock himself emerges through surprisingly stilted, self-conscious letters and anecdotes (""I am nature,"" he pugnaciously told Hans Hoffman); he seems to be a deeply conflicted, ultimately enigmatic character far more imriguing than the myth which Friedman debunks at various points.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1972
ISBN: 0306806649
Publisher: McGraw-Hill