Jackson Pollock

Gagosian Gallery

Although Jackson Pollock has been dead for more than 30 years, we still have not succeeded in packaging his contribution and delivering it up to the confines of art history. Is Pollock’s work better accommodated by Clement Greenberg’s ’50s-style art about art approach, or the autobiographical perspective Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith propose in their cumbersome 1989 biography Jackson Pollock: An American Saga? Pollock’s strongest work is simultaneously intimate and impersonal, yet we have tended to stress one aspect or the other, the romantic shaman or the formalist innovator.

Subtitled “Black Enamel Paintings,” this exhibition focused on the work Pollock made as he began to receive attention for his “poured” paintings but before he finished his epic Blue Poles: Number 11, 1952. The pieces were divided into three groups: black enamel paintings from 1951 and ’52; sketchbook drawings

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