Kentucky Art Speaks

Artist: Present & Past – Jackson Pollock

In Artist: Present & Past on September 17, 2010 at 8:00 am

Jackson Pollock, Number 1, 1950 (Lavender Mist),1950.

As an art major, I often hear a lot of debating about, well, art. More frequently than not, people resort to beholding many nonobjective types of art as inferior by using the old “a five year-old can do it!” arguement.

If you think creating a nonobjective work of art is easy, you should try making one of your own sometime. No really. Try it.

Before deciding that an artwork or even an entire subcategory of art (in the above case, abstract expressionism) is inferior, you should ask yourself a few questions.

For the next few Fridays I will be talking about, but not necessarily answering, some of these questions that are essential in deciding if an artist or a particular work of art is successful. By using the word “successful,” I mean when you feel like the artist has properly executed a work that explains or explores a particular theme or idea. I’m going to try to keep it as simple as possible, because art doesn’t have to be as elitist as it’s sometimes made out to be. Here it goes.

One important thing to know and take into account about all works of art is the time period in which the work was created. To aid in my explanation of why this is important to know, I am using Jackson Pollock’s Lavender Mist, created in 1950.

Important questions to ask yourself:

What was going on in the art world when Pollock created Lavender Mist? Just as importantly, what was going on in the real world? Are these things Pollock even considered when making this work of art?

You can decide the answers to these questions by considering historical facts about the artist and his world in conjunction with his or her own opinions about how the artist was (or wasn’t) reacting to the events taking place around him.

What do you think?


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