This morning we viewed several segments from two DVDs:
- Pollock: the 2000 film about Jackson Pollock starring Ed Harris and directed by Ed Harris.
- Basquiat: the 1996 film about Jean Michel Basquiat starring Jeffrey Wright and directed by Julian Schnabel.
Thoughts & bites include:
Basquiat: scene 5: Someplace Else
- Jean couldn’t tell a Phillips head screwdriver from a regular screwdriver
- Guy in the gallery w/Civil War cap asks if he can make a call – “It’s Paris, Bernard, you know Bernard
- You’ll get there – it’s good to have something to fall back on, that’s why I became an electrician
- I’m an artist too. I sculpt, I’m just now finding myself
- You’re just like I was. I’m going to be 40 in July & I’m glad I never got any recognition – it’s given me time to develop
Scene 6: Fame, Integrity & Beating the Machine
- Hey Benny, man how long you think it takes to get famous? 4 years, 6 to get rich. First you’re gonna have to dress right, then you’re gonna have to hang out with famous people, go to the right parties, socialize. Then you gotta do your work all the time. Once you’re famous, you’re airborne, you gotta keep doing it in the same way even after it’s boring unless you want people to get mad at you, which they’re gonna do anyway
Scene 14: Primal Expressionist
- You’re quite the ladies man, you’ve dated Madona
- All this at the ripe old age of 24, what’s left to do?
- Can you decipher this for us?
- Would you ask Miles (Miles Davis) where’d you get that note from?
- What’s the difference between a flea, parasite and a leech? Hardly any…
- What’s that? A pile of tires I painted. I knew that…
- Do you see yourself as a primal expressionist? Do you mean an ape?
- Do you consider yourself a painter or a black painter?
- How do you respond to being called the Pickaninny of the art world? Oh, my mistake
- You come from a middle class home – why did you live in a cardboard box in Tompkins Square?
- Do you feel you’re being exploited or are you exploiting the white image of the black artist from the ghetto?
- Are you angry, as an artist?
Scene 17: Riding the Wave of Fame
- Maybe you shouldn’t take things so seriously
- They say I’m killing myself, but then when I clean up they say my art’s dead
- You’re painting out everything I do
- Oh that’s great, system with just the “m”
- I can’t even see what’s good anymore
- I’m gonna go to Maui, write poetry and play music again
Pollock: scene 3: Lee Krasner
- I thought I knew all the abstract artists in New York, but I didn’t know Jackson Pollock
- Could I see your work?
- Who’d you study with?
- Carl Jung & John Graham helped me get over Benton (Thomas Hart Benton)
- I’m not sure if I’m finished with it. I don’t think you should touch it
Scene 8: I’m just Painting
- What’s this? I see the head, the body…
- This isn’t really cubism Jack because you’re not breaking down the figure into multiple views
- What is this, free association, automatism?
- I’m just painting, Lee…
- Are you experimenting with surrealism, is this a dream?
- You can’t abstract nothing, you can only abstract from life, from nature
- I am nature
Scene 9: Peggy Pays a Visit
- I’m Peggy Guggenheim, I do not climb 5 flights of stairs, not I
- Peggy G. looks at Lee’s work & says I didn’t come here to look at okay
- You’re not really a surrealist, few Americans are
- The source of art comes from the unconscious
- You’ve got your first one-man show, congratulations
- Peggy will give you a stipend, $150 a month
- If you don’t sell $2400 worth Peggy owns the work, so sell
- In addition Peggy has commissioned you to paint a mural in her own townhouse, you’ll have total artistic license
Scene 10: One Man Show
- Introduces Tony Smith, Willem de Kooning & James Johnson Sweeney
- It’s not painting
- Clement Greenberg is not impressed
- He’s original, he’s ambitious, the titles are pretentious
- Review of show: Pollock has gone through his influences & has come out on the other side painting mostly with his own brush
- It’s saying you’re an original
- Not one sale – Rome wasn’t built in a day
Scene 19: Betty Parsons’ Gallery
- de Kooning says, Take a look around fellas, these are the big shots. Jackson broke the ice
Scene 20: The Meaning of Modern Art
- Expression of contemporary aims of the age we are living in
- All cultures have had mean’s & techniques of expressing their immediate aims
- Painters today do not have to go to a subject outside of themselves – they work from within
- The modern artist cannot express this age; the airplane, the atom bomb & the radio in the old forms of the Renaissance
- I paint on the floor. It’s not unusual, the Orientals did it
- I don’t use the accident, I deny the accident