Bad Boys – One: Number 31, 1950

7:00 AM

Bad Boys
The Men Who Saw Art and Chose To Change It
Curatedby Gabrielle Fenaroli

Jackson Pollock, One: Number 31, 1950

The 1950s were a confusing time for America and its people. Jackson Pollock wanted to add to the confusion and angst by challenging the Western ideas of art and painting. Could you call something a painting if it had no particular subject? No particular purpose?

Could you call it art if you believed your kid could paint it? Well,  Jackson Pollock believed you could, and that’s what he intended to show the world. He produced his work by spreading a canvas onto the floor and proceeded to fling a mixture of different alkyd enamels in an unearthly fashion. He was not bound to a single angle of painting and he worked his way around the piece and discovered a new dimension of painting. He believed for an artist to be confined to just a paintbrush was blasphemy as he intended to use his whole body to create works of art. In doing so, he turned the art world upside down.

One of my favorite Pollocks resides in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. I remember seeing One: Number 31, 1950 when I was younger. My mother was and is a Pollock admirer and I never truly understood it till I began taking art history. It is somewhat appropriate that this is my last blog entry because Pollock is one of the first artists I recall seeing; and mostly because he is the first artist I recall hating. He became synonymous with art museums, which became the antithesis of fun and the ruiner of numerous play dates. While sitting staring at the oversized canvas, I felt a rush of anxiety and angst that I had never felt before. The walls of the MOMA closed in and people began to vanish as the canvas enveloped me in its aggressive and invasive hands. I felt each thread of paint woven around me and the pools of liquid began to surround me. Then an overwhelming sense of peace washed over me because the tension subsided and the landscape became clear.

While Pollock’s piece was confusing it also found a way to balance itself in a calligraphic fashion. The loops and pools of color found ways to intertwine and connect throughout the piece and bring life to every inch of the painting. Pollock did not limit his painting to one spot, just as I did not limit my mind to one way of viewing art. There were different angles and meaning to be seen and that what it was all about.

As a contributor, I now bid this site farewell, and I feel so blessed to have gotten the opportunity to see art differently. Each post I read from my fellow classmates is the opportunity to see another angle of a canvas, to feel something new for a certain work. I get the rare opportunity to walk in their footsteps as they encounter a canvas and write their thoughts. So, I thank you for reading.

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