Reading this massive, richly satisfying biography of the expressionist painter, one is awestruck that so much creativity flowed from such self-destructive havoc. Pollock (1912-1956) is presented as an artist driven by private demons, nursing psychic wounds inflicted by a rigidly controlling mother and a father who abandoned the family when Jackson was nine. We are shown that Pollock's week-long drunken binges, violent outbursts and possible homosexuality drove away most women, but painter Lee Krasner, his wife, provided the devotion and sexual fulfillment that allowed him to confront on canvas the inner struggle between his masculine and feminine halves. Naifeh and Smith, whose coauthored books include Culture Making , provide new information on his peripatetic childhood and on his relationships with surrealists, Jungian analysts, mentor Thomas Hart Benton, Mexican muralist David Siqueiros and Polish refugee artist John Graham. This is both a definitive portrait and an intimate, selective history of a quarter-century of modern art. Illustrations not seen by PW. 35,000 first printing; first serial to Mirabella; film rights to Keith Barish Productions. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/28/1989 Release date: 12/01/1989 Genre: Nonfiction
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