Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-06-15
- Reviewer: Staff
Accompanying a current exhibition of the same name at the Guggenheim in Venice, this passionately argued text by Anfam (Mark Rothko: Works on Canvas), director of the Clyfford Still Museum's research center, delves into the personal, cultural, and artistic forces that helped shape Pollock's largest and, according to the author, most influential painting. Working across three separate sections, Anfam first looks at Pollock's close friendship with fellow abstract expressionist Clyfford Still—the deep connection they both felt toward the American West, and the resulting importance of space and limitlessness in both artists' work. Then he explores the effect of WWII and Picasso's Guernica on Pollock, and finally he examines the ripple effect that Mural had on countless artists, including Mark Rothko, David Smith, Robert Motherwell, and Richard Serra, while it was displayed in Peggy Guggenheim's entrance hall. Richly analytical, and with 106 illustrations including pages from Pollock's sketchbooks, the text draws compelling connections between Pollock's work and the paintings of J.M.W. Turner, the writings of Charles Olson, and the biological examinations of human form by D'Arcy Wentworth Thompson. Also interesting is Anfam's emphasis on the effect of new photographic methods and perspectives on Mural and Pollock's work in general—in particular the 1943 Action Photography show at MoMA in New York and wartime photographs in Life magazine. This insightful study is a welcome analysis of a single work by Pollock. Illus. (June)