My Kid Could Do That…If My Kid Was Born on this Date in 1912, Made a Complete Break with the History of Figurative Painting, Became a Pillar in the Burgeoning Abstract Expressionism Movement, and Ignored Plebes Who Walked By, Sneering, “My Kid Could Do That.”

Jackson Pollock’s Full Fathom Five, 1947
Jackson Pollock. Full Fathom Five. 1947. Oil on canvas with nails, tacks, buttons, key, coins, cigarettes, matches, etc., 50 7/8 x 30 1/8″ (129.2 x 76.5 cm). Gift of Peggy Guggenheim.
From the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York City

Jackson Pollock at workI can’t remember the first time that I saw a picture by Jackson Pollock, right. Since I was born fewer than ten years after his death in 1956, his work seems like it was always around, if only, and mostly, as a representation of how debased “art” had become, that being an extension of what common folk accepted as modern society’s total insanity.

That said, I also can’t recall a time that I didn’t passionately love his paintings. I had to grow into Motherwell and Rothko, but Pollock always spoke to me, even when very young. Perhaps it was those wildly dripped lines which, even to a child, suggest rampant energy, and clearly convey that you are not looking at a pastural field. There seemed something bad about the work, as though the artist was misbehaving. The snob’s retort—”My kid could do that”—was meant as a putdown. But, as was often the case, those attempting to injure the artist’s reputation often found themselves unintentionally giving up mad props. “There was a reviewer a while back” Pollock once said, “who wrote that my pictures didn’t have any beginning or any end. He didn’t mean it as a compliment, but it was.” As always, they look, but do not see.


1 comment so far ↓

#1 Eric K on 03.02.09 at 12:00 am

I enjoyed this article if for nothing more than the dynamic title which I believe encompasses Pollock and his style and the shared sentiments of his ever-present intensity and emotion in his work.

Leave a Comment