Published: March 7, 2016
DALLAS, TEXAS — The Dallas Museum of Art announced that it has acquired one of Jackson Pollock’s only existing sculptures, a work that offers keen insight into the artist’s creative trajectory. Created just weeks before Pollock’s death, the untitled 1956 work is one of just six of the artist’s sculptures in existence, all but one of which is held in private collections. This sculpture is receiving a rare public presentation in the museum’s exhibition “Jackson Pollock: Blind Spots,” on view through March 20, only the third major US museum exhibition to focus solely on the artist and the largest-ever survey of Pollock’s black paintings.
Primarily known for his iconic “drip” paintings, Pollock produced more than a dozen sculptures over the course of his career, many of which were later lost or destroyed by the artist himself. The surviving sculptures reflect Pollock’s distinctive aesthetic and inform a greater understanding of the experimental, almost improvisatory approach that characterized his practice. Rarely exhibited during his lifetime, this sculpture seems to precede the aesthetic sensibility variously known as Anti-Form, Post-Minimalism, or Process art, which would be carried out in the following generations by artists such as Eva Hesse, Richard Serra, Bruce Nauman and others.
The acquisition is one of two extant sculptures that Pollock created in the summer of 1956, while he was staying at the home of his friend and contemporary Tony Smith. Struggling with depression and unable to paint, Pollock produced over the course of a single weekend a series of vivid abstract sculptures composed of sand, plaster, wire and gauze. These sculptures are believed to be Pollock’s last completed works prior to his death in a car accident at the age of 44.
The sculpture was acquired by the museum from the Tony Smith estate with support from the Gayle and Paul Stoffel Fund for Contemporary Art Acquisition. It becomes the third Pollock work to enter the museum’s modern and contemporary holdings, which also include the highly regarded paintings “Cathedral,” 1947, and “Portrait and a Dream,” 1953.
“The DMA has long played an important role in showcasing the legacy of Jackson Pollock, from becoming one of the first American museums to acquire his paintings to being the first in nearly 50 years to exhibit his influential black paintings series,” said Interim Director Walter Elcock. “We are deeply grateful to Gayle and Paul Stoffel for their support of this acquisition, which makes the DMA one of only two museums in the world to hold a portion of Pollock’s surviving work as a sculptor.”
“Even as his work as a painter transformed the landscape of Twentieth Century art, Jackson Pollock repeatedly returned to sculpture throughout his career as a means of investigating the liberating qualities of non-traditional forms and materials,” said Gavin Delahunty, the museum’s Hoffman Family Senior Curator of Contemporary Art. “The receipt of this rarely exhibited work into our collection represents a perfect capstone to our ongoing exhibition of Pollock’s black paintings series, itself a step toward our understanding of another under-examined vein in the artist’s practice.”
The Dallas Museum of Art is 1717 North Harwood Street. For information, www.dma.org or 214-922-1200.
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