Sunday, May 31, 2009

Another About Pollock

When viewing the painting in question from Who the Bleep is Jackson Pollock, what was your first impression of the work in question? For me personally, my gut instinct told me that it looked a little like a fake. For me, there was just something off about it. The colors strangeness gave me a first impression that this is not an original Pollock. By reviewing the chapter "Fakes" in Thompson's Stuffed Shark, as well as your reflections of that day and the movie source, tell me what your first impression of the work was. Did this first impression change in any way because of the presentation within the movie, the textual readings, or any other possible sources? Which do you consider as the more substantial proof of determining an authenticity of an artwork? For example, do you trust your instinct more or that of critical analysis or scientific evidence?


  1. Devon, this is a great question - I will hold off on posting my response until everyone else has a chance to do so.

    Hope you all are doing well -- Dr. D

  2. First off, when it comes to my initial reaction to the painting in question, I must admit that it was neither strongly for nor against the validity or authenticity of the painting. This is most likely due to my lack of artistic training/art history study, which typically grants its scholars that suave art lens through which to properly judge such questionable works. As for me however, I simply saw another splish-splash (I taking a bath) painting, which to me all seemed to closely resemble the next having only slight variations. That was before viewing the film though. Afterwards, I had a new found respect for splash paintings, more precisely those that I consider to be of high quality such as Pollock’s. the more I was exposed to, the greater the beauty I began to see in them. But I must be honest and say that whether or not Terry Horton’s painting is in fact ‘a Pollock’, I see it as just as beautiful, if not more. Thompson refers to authenticity simple as “who painted [the painting] and when”. Furthermore, as Devon touched on, Thompson states that the authenticity of an artwork is “determined by expert opinion, physical examination, and sometimes by scientific analysis (207).” Furthermore, Thompson interestingly explains the “aura” theory that “art historians have always held” to be true, which was a practice entirely unbeknownst to me prior to this reading. From an outsiders point of view, this seems a bit absurd and honestly humorous. To better illustrate, consider the law equivalent as being a judge deeming a defendant as guilty or not guilty based on the “aura” they emit. Or, the equivalent in psychology as being the classification of someone as schizophrenic or psychosocial simply based on whatever “aura” the therapists senses. Perhaps these examples would help the art world to realize how us outsiders can perceive their sophisticated method of “aura” sensing to authenticate a painting as ludicrous in the common day. By no means do I mean to demean art in anyway, nor art historians, but I believe that art in general should be more accepting of the benefits modern technologies may be able to offer. No longer would the art world have to solely rely upon the opinion of the art ‘experts’ to confirm or refute the authenticity of a painting. Likewise, no longer would art ‘experts’ have to grabble at each others’ necks for years when they hold opposing opinions on the authenticity of a painting. Just as scientific analysis is aiding in the authenticity process of Terry Horton’s painting, so can it aid in the numerous other paintings that are sure to come into question – that is, if the art world allows it to do so. So to finally answer the question: no, I would absolutely not rely solely upon my own expertise to verify or refute the authenticity of a painting. My reasoning for this is not just because I have no expertise, but more importantly because I believe that the authenticity of any painting should not rely solely on one ‘expert’s’ opinion. This is where science can play a vital role, being an ‘expert opinion’ that has no preconceived interests or biases, but simply speaks the truth consistently and irrefutably.