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Distributed for McMullen Museum of Art, Boston College

Pollock Matters

Legendary abstract expressionist painter Jackson Pollock (1912–56) is most famous for the frenetic, highly textured works created through his trademark “drip” technique in which he poured paint from its can directly onto the canvas. Pollock Matters explores, for the first time, the personal and artistic interrelationship between the notorious artist and noted Swiss-born photographer and graphic designer Herbert Matter.
Published to coincide with an exhibition at Boston College’s McMullen Museum of Art, Pollock Matters traces a close friendship that spanned almost two decades, beginning in 1936 when the men’s future wives, painters Lee Krasner and Mercedes Carles, met after being sent to jail for protesting Works Progress Administration cutbacks. The friendship continued until Pollock’s tragic death in an automobile accident in the summer of 1956.
Featuring compelling visual and documentary evidence, including over 150 illustrations, this book demonstrates a critically important chain of influence between two creative individuals not addressed in previous studies of their respective careers. Pollock Matters reveals the crucial role that Herbert Matter’s technical innovations played in helping to stimulate Pollock’s radical artistic conception of  “energy made visible.” A previously unknown body of small drip paintings labeled by Matter as “Jackson experimentals” is presented here along with scientific analysis of the works. This volume will be essential reading for anyone seeking an enriched understanding of Jackson Pollock’s life and work or the history of abstract painting.

178 pages | 282 color plates | 11 x 11

Art: American Art, Art--General Studies

Table of Contents

Director’s Preface
   Nancy Netzer
   Claude Cernuschi and Ellen G. Landau
Action/Re-Action: The Artistic Friendship of Herbert Matter and Jackson Pollock
   Ellen G. Landau
Jackson Pollock’s Vitalism: Herbert Matter and the Vitalist Tradition
   Jonathan D. Katz
Cutting Pollock Down to Size: The Boundaries of the Poured Technique
   Claude Cernuschi and Andrzej Herczynski
Abstract Expressionism and Fractal Geometry
   Claude Cernuschi, Andrzej Herczynski, and David Martin
Scientific Examination of the Paint on Nine Matter Paintings
   Richard Newman and Michele Derrick
Analyzing Jackson Pollock: Scientific Methods and the Study of the Matter Paintings
   Nicholas Eastaugh
What It Says on the Tin: A Preliminary Study of the Set of Paint Cans and the Floor in the Pollock-Krasner Studio
   Nicholas Eastaugh and Bhavini Gorsia
Fingerprinting Jackson Pollock?
   Peter Paul Biro
Appendix I: Notes on Conservation of the Matter Paintings
Appendix II: Chronology of the Relationship of the Matters and Pollocks
   Prepared with the assistance of Nancy Cohen, Jeffrey Head, and Michael R. Weil, Jr.

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