Revisiting Pollock Exhibit Opens to Large Crowds

by Allison Oster '01

Overcast skies and rain did not stop more than 300 guests from viewing a collection of paintings attributed to Jackson Pollock on display at Azusa Pacific.

Saturday, October 4, marked the opening of the art exhibit, Revisiting Pollock, at the university’s Duke Gallery. With live 50s-era jazz music, classic cars, and refreshments, the stage was set. Special guests, alumni, students, faculty, and staff arrived and gathered outside the gallery, waiting for the doors to open and reveal the paintings being exhibited for the first time. (View photos from the opening reception.)

“You can’t find this many paintings attributed to Pollock on display like this anywhere,” said William Catling, MFA, chair of the Department of Art. Catling expressed excitement over the opportunity to showcase these paintings. “Having works attributed to an artist of Pollock’s stature allows us to engage in the art and encourage dialog about art history and authentication with our students and guests,” he said.

Owner Erich Neumeth, who has had these paintings in his possession for more than 40 years, enthusiastically greeted guests and shared some of the history of the paintings. “I have never seen [the paintings] framed before―they’re beautiful,” he said. “These paintings deserve to be seen.”

In preparation for the show, Department of Art faculty and students worked around the clock to carefully frame and hang the 7 canvases and 10 papers. Two of the longer canvases sat in a large display case in the center of the room. “This placement allows guests to see the paintings as Pollock did, forcing them to bend over and look down at the paintings,” said Jim Daichendt, Ed.D., exhibitions director. Pollock, best known for taking the canvas off the wall, created his work on the floor, moving around the entire piece as he dripped and poured paint.

Outside, two large canvases on the ground allowed attendees to “drip” paint just like Pollock. While waiting in line inside, they could also create digital Pollock-like works through a website.

Guy Kinnear, MFA, associate professor of painting and drawing at APU, summed up his experience with the exhibit. “These works of art have to be experienced firsthand,” he said. “While reproductions can be powerful, true understanding of the work lies in standing in the presence of these paintings.”