A new article in Smithsonian posits that Jackson Pollock hid his full name in the abstractions of his famed piece Mural. The article's author, art historian Henry Adams, says that his wife, also an art scholar, was the first to notice the letters. From Smithsonian:
I was researching a book about Pollock's lifelong relationship with his mentor, Thomas Hart Benton, the famed regionalist and muralist, when I sat puzzling over a reproduction of Mural after breakfast one morning with Marianne, herself an art historian. She suddenly said she could make out the letters S-O-N in blackish paint in the upper right area of the mural. Then she realized JACKSON ran across the entire top. And finally she saw POLLOCK below that."Decoding Jackson Pollock"
The characters are unorthodox, even ambiguous, and largely hidden. But, she pointed out, it could hardly be random coincidence to find just those letters in that sequence...
Pollock's possibly writing his name in Mural testifies to an overlooked feature of his works: they have a structure, contrary to the popular notion that they could be done by any 5-year-old with a knack for splatters. In my view, Pollock organized the painting around his name according to a compositional system–vertical markings that serve as the loci of rhythmic spirals–borrowed directly from his mentor, Benton.
David Pescovitz is Boing Boing's co-editor/managing partner. He's also a research director at Institute for the Future. On Instagram, he's @pesco.
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