“It doesn't make much difference how the paint is put on as long as something has been said. Technique is just a means of arriving at a statement.”
Jackson Pollock was first introduced to modern art at age sixteen, and worked on the WPA Federal Art Project during the Great Depression. In 1943, he had his first solo show, which featured work that showed his interest in Native American sand painting, African sculpture, prehistoric art, and European modernism. By 1947 he had begun the process of dripping and pouring for which he is best known. Pollock’s classic large-scale, completely abstract drip paintings were made between 1948 and 1951; over the next two years, the figure resurfaced in paintings that he made solely with black enamel on un-sized canvas.
Let Pollock inspire your students to:
- Paint without a paintbrush, using spray bottles, sponges, sticks, etc., and then consider how their artwork expresses their movements.
- Research Native American sand painting and then collaborate to make a temporary outdoor sand painting.
- Paint with non-toxic industrial supplies, including car paint, house paint, paint rollers, etc.
- Use marbles to create a painting that shows movement.
- Mix paint into bottles of glue to create drip paintings.
Books for students:
Action Jackson, Jan Greenberg
Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists: Jackson Pollock, Mike Venezia
Artists in Their Time: Jackson Pollock, Clare Oliver
Abstract Expressionism: Jackson Pollock, The Museum of Modern Art
JacksonPollock.org, Milton Manetas
Inside Scoop: Jackson Pollock, National Gallery of Art
Find out more from The Museum of Modern Art:
Number 1A, gallery label text
From the Curator: Jackson Pollock, video
Portrait in Seven Shades: Pollock, jazz music