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The Essential Jackson Pollock by Justin…

The Essential Jackson Pollock

by Justin Spring

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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0810958090, Hardcover)

This small, square, pocket-sized book gives readers all they need to know in order to stand in front of one of Jackson Pollock's drip paintings and resist the impulse to say, "My kid could do that." It puts the man, the myth, and the paintings in context of both pre- and post-war America. One of the Essentials series (which includes similar little books on Edward Hopper, Salvador Dali, and Vincent Van Gogh), the book presents many bright, colorful reproductions; cutesy, but quick and painless lessons in art talk--"new for this year: gestural automatism (huh?)"; and readymade underlinings with important words and phrases italicized for the hurried reader who only has time to skim the text.

Writer Justin Spring settles into Pollock's biography with narrative ease. By the end of the book he has made good on his promise to show us that it "isn't hard" to understand Pollock. He thoroughly but respectfully describes the artist's fatal alcoholism (he died in a car crash that also killed another passenger), his womanizing, his dependence on his wife, painter Lee Krasner, and his groundbreaking art. The Abstract Expressionists were an earnest bunch, Pollock especially. His unstable psyche and his drinking, intertwined, were his Achilles heel, but he emerges as the brilliant, voraciously curious cowboy-intellectual that he was. As Spring writes, Pollock created "a distinctive identity for American postwar art," for which he "endured poverty, loneliness, ridicule, and immense psychic anguish." --Peggy Moorman

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:43 -0400)

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A guide to understanding Jackson Pollock, examining the truths and myths about his life, explaining the Abstract Expressionism movement with which his work is associated, and discussing his unique style of painting. Includes over fifty illustrations.

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