Jackson Pollack, Lee Krasner, and Their Layers

We visited the Pollack-Krasner home this past August. It is a Pollack Krasner Acabonic View
slightly renovated, still barely uninsulated, 19th Century fishing house walking distance from Acabonic Harbor in East Hampton, NY. The view from the house was quite calming. The air balmy with a touch of cooling breeze.

It was bought by two married painters, Jackson and Lee, in October 1945 when the surroundings were nothing more than back country. A wooded maze of old roads by water. That was before the movie stars and the moneyed came. We were told they would arrive just after the winter thaw and stay to the early autumn breezes. Mostly, the calendar pulled them away. But there were few rules. And then there was the barn. Work. Always work.

These two knew very few constraints. They lived all at once, in layers. And that, of course, is the story. The end. Layers. Of living and hiding from life. Of paint and pain. Of selling work and alcohol. Of fame, so close you can taste it. The ambiguity to the fame, until it was mature, and different. Maybe less passionate and less well-paying.  And then there was the faith, Lee’s mostly. Seeing what WOULD become of the work. And selling it for millions, decades after the famous car crash.  One sold recently for over $54,000,000.


The Studio Today (pan shot)

The antagonist, the 26 year old other woman, Ruth Kligman, fought the rest of her life to prove she possessed a genuine Pollack given to her by the man, know as “Red, Black and Silver.” It is still a hot topic of the debate. Perhaps a bit desperate. Last year a polar bear hair yes (really) was found in the painting that matched that of a rug of Pollacks’ in the Springs house.

How it all came together and fell so widely apart is the story of legends and life. How a student of Thomas Hart Benton could paint so differently, radically and wildly… another mystery. How liquid paint, a technique Pollack learned  in 1936 at an experimental workshop in New York City by the Mexican muralist David Alfaro Siqueros, would alter the art world.  Another layer. Another layer…

Jackson at work in the barn

Jackson at work in the barn

Pollack-Krasner lighting

Pollack-Krasner lighting

Look Down

Look Down

How Garry Winogrand and Photography
Became Special, Together

He was an influence on many. I am but one sole practitioner and fan.

Garry Winogrand captured people on film. Perhaps not at their best or most attractive. The images are withstanding the test of time. Like Weegee, Doisneau and many so-called street photographers the images of people are generally shot in black & white. That alone says a lot about the relationship.

As I see it, black and white photography maintains a respectful distance between the subject and the viewer. Color removes numerous choices and paths.

The Times has a sensitivity toward photography that many newspapers (and certainly most TV producers) do not. It shows in the grab below. The coarseness and aggression in our faces would surely surprise most of us. Once again this story raises interesting thoughts: How did he feel about not seeing these? Did he even have time to think about them, or was he focused on his illness. Did he think about his subjects then, or before very much?

The shutter-click is controversial. If the photographer accidentally clicked, is the result still art? [My belief is that it is. My brother, a painter+photographer, taught me this: “That ‘mistake’ as you call it! is the artist’s. It becomes part of the work.” Convinced me.

When Images Come to Life After Death

The photographer Garry Winogrand was known for imposing an artist’s eye on messy urban life, but when he died in 1984, after a rapidly lethal cancer, he left behind an imposing mess of uncertain artistic value: a third of a million exposed frames of film that he hadn’t edited.

For those of us who capture images with an idea or even a hope in our minds, these photographs stand as evidence. Insofar as the subjects are involved in that moment, it is they who matter most.


Design when it matters: Ian Lurie

Good marketing works. It’s rare that someone just does “creative” and aligns it with an understanding of business, a mission, and objective. Ian Lurie appears to be an exception.

I do not know Mr. Lurie, who lives and works on the West Coast. But from what I have seen, he is my kind of guy. He takes his work seriously enough to be comfortable not being taken too seriously. A perilous path in a very uptight, upright world. But, a lot of fun (living) when you find and connect with others, in business, like you.

It is a place where ego exists as if a puddle of water in which you stand holding the two poles of direct current in either hand. The ego is there. And (suddenly, but not TOO startlingly–we hope) you realize the wrong move or moves will ruin ALL you have been working for. And you will die. Figuratively anyway.

Weird, Useful, Significant: Internet marketing NOW

If you want to succeed on the internet, talk to the slightly weird/obsessed audience who will hang on and pass on your every word. Don’t demand significance. E…

Fresh Phish: “Fuego Works” in Time for Independence Day


Some of the lyrics may be a little wobbly, as great lyrics go. But the sound is unmistakable. And Fuego is a delight. From the first track to the end, this album deserves volume and space. Key tracks: “Wombat”, “The Line” and of course “Fuego.”

The band continues to take steps others may barely discuss; it released the complete Phish Fuego album for listening on NPR, right up to its recent official release. Phish likes to act its members’ beliefs, not simply give them lip-service.

Fuego, “fire” in Spanish comes out just in time for your celebration. No preparation needed. I’m thinking… Fuego-works.

at Phish.com
Read More
Listen: “Waiting All Night”


Observing big news in pictures

The implication of the headline was larger than the typeface:

China and Russia Reach 30-Year Gas Deal

But, the moment I saw this front page, above the fold photo by Mark Ralston for the New York Times, I stopped everything.Xi

Is Putin strutting by Xi…? (Really?)

Is Xi bowing? Why…?

The international foreign policy wonks and scholars explained what was happening behind this scene. Putin NEEDED the China deal to shore up his reputation at home. The Ukraine and his aggressive behavior against European nations are winning him few allies. Russia is a land of many peoples–demanding people who respond to strength.

But here is what many people overlooked: An oil deal with China has been in the works for over ten years. The picture may have captured a subtler view of the long term geopolitical story. Ralston was there to capture it. To do so, he HAD to understand what he was seeing. (Or did he? Or did he only see it later…?)

Here’s your assignment. In the photo: Is Xi acknowledging Putin’s short-term by a man (does Xi see Putin as arrogant?) who has not grasped that it is China that ACTUALLY won?

For full NYT story