Monday, October 30, 2006


My brother asks a great question in the comments section of my last post: “…how is Pollack's drips any more inspired than [Twombly's]?” He brings this up not only because they are both Abstract Expressionists, but also because he knows me well and knows that I am an ardent fan of Pollock’s work. I could attempt a justification for the difference between Pollock and Twombly, even one that is more substantial than the basic fact that Pollock is from Wyoming and Twombly is from Virginia, therefore my allegiance defaults to a fellow Cowboy, but to be absolutely frank, I’m not sure what the difference is between them. I can, however, give a personal story that may help to illuminate my position:

One of the first Jackson Pollock paintings I remember seeing in real life was Frieze, in Steve Wynn’s Bellagio collection, with my dad and my brother, back when I lived in Las Vegas, maybe around 1999 or so. (As a side note, Wynn recently made headlines for punching his hand through a 139 million dollar Picasso painting while gesturing wildly at a party - click here to read about it) That collection was pretty sweet, especially for Las Vegas, which is a desert not only in climate but also in culture. I remember the Bellagio collection having works by van Gogh, Monet, Picasso, Miro, Gauguin, and Rothko. But the piece that still lingers in my mind is the Pollock. I remember exactly where it was hung in relation to the other pieces and how it was lit. I recall the sweep of emotion I felt when I stood in front of it - a jumble of inside jokes, romantic whispers, sexy allure - and the rumble of thoughts that flipped like a rolodex through my head as I stared at it. For me, that painting did what the others, what so many others, could not: it sparked my heart and my head equally and powerfully. Maybe it’s kinda like meeting someone that you feel a connection with, someone that other people think is obnoxious or boring or both, and feeling instantly drawn to them. Whereas I have yet to witness a Cy Twombly piece in real life, perhaps once I see one I will change my tune, but for now I can only say that other than this personal connection, Twombly’s work seems reduced too far towards childish scribble to hold a candle to the complex movement of Pollock’s drips.

What a poor answer to such a thoughtful question, but it’s all I got.

ps - This is the first time I have ever repeated an artist here at b.s.c. I suppose Pollock is worth it.