Rebirth of Jackson Pollock’s ‘Mural’
The landmark painting stands magnificently, no less so after the debunking of a myth regarding its creation
Jackson Pollock’s “Mural,” regarded by some as the most important modern American painting ever made, is the focus of a Getty exhibition opening Tuesday. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times / March 7, 2014)
By Christopher Knight
Myths die hard. Especially creation myths. Messing with the symbolic origins of a world isn’t something to be undertaken lightly.
Jackson Pollock‘s mammoth 1943 painting “Mural” — nearly 8 feet high, 20 feet wide and covered edge-to-edge with rhythmic, Matisse-like linear arabesques, muscular abstract shapes and piercing voids, all of which he likened to a frenzied mustang stampede — was something entirely new for American art. The great painting represents an early, galvanizing leap toward the emergence of the New York School of Abstract Expressionist art in the aftermath of World War II.
The pivotal painting, owned by the University of Iowa’s Museum of Art, goes on public view at the J. Paul Getty Museum on Tuesday — minus a chunk of its myth. It has been undone by science.