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Action Painting: Jackson Pollock Hardcover – Illustrated, 20 Feb 2008

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Amazon.com: HASH(0xa105d0c0) out of 5 stars 2 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa106024c) out of 5 stars Action painting way beyond Pollock 5 Sept. 2008
By Reich Claude - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is the catalogue for a recent exhibition held at the Beyeler Foundation in Basel, Switzerland. It is full of color illustrations and interesting essays, especially the one by curator Pepe Karmel on Picasso's influence on the art of Jackson Pollock (the American artist absorbing and then, in some way, transcending the Spanish master towards explosive abstraction). The book also enables the reader to discover some less "main-stream" artists, such as the unjustly overlooked Wols, whose influence on subsequent European currents was to be as important as that of Pollock in the US. Apart from Pollock, 28 artists are present in this book,ranging from De Kooning to Cy Twombly, from Fautrier to Arman, from Frankenthaler to Mitchell, etc. All of them show how far-reaching the concept of action -painting was (and still is, as is very well shown in the last essay of the book)and how far it went beyond the mere household names of Pollock, Kline and De Kooning.

Why only 4 stars then? Because of the quality of the paper, which is somewhat disappointing and only allows below average illustrations, even in close-ups.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa2768918) out of 5 stars action painting and Jackson Pollack's place in the field 9 May 2008
By Henry Berry - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Jackson Pollock is named in the title for being the primary model and pivotal artist in action painting. Action painting stands out as a type of painting in the post-World War II art movement "concentrat[ing] above all on the true essence of painting" for exceptionally capturing the essentials of "color, painterly gesture, and immediacy" which were the movement's ideals. Informed Art in Europe and Abstract Expressionism in the United States were major styles with associated characteristic techniques growing out of the movement. The Foreword by a trio of art critics/historians makes a point of the "open rivalry between the two positions...from which the American side emerged 'victorious'." Along with Pollock, the American artists Robert Motherwell, Cy Twobley, Helen Frankenthaler, and Clifford Still were internally recognized as top action-painting artists; with commensurate demand for their paintings at top prices in auctions and galleries.

Among among the European artists featured are Eva Hesse, Karol Appel, Wols, and Roberto Matta. Willem de Kooning and Arshile Gorky are found too among some of the artists of foreign birth who spent most of their careers in the U.S. Each of the 27 artists is introduced by a short paragraph of biographical and artistic information followed by four or so full-page color illustrations of representative art works. Pollock gets about 18 pages which include four double-page illustrations and a fold-out for a 4-page spread of his work "Horizontal Composition."

Pollock's action painting originated in the mid 1940s when he first practiced his now-famed "drip technique, which might perhaps better be described as 'pouring' or 'throwing'" paint on a canvas while staying with his wife at a friend's place on Long Island. It wasn't long before other artists started to imitate or use variations of this technique. Although Pollock's technique is commonly looked upon as radical and revolutionary, as Ulf Kuster notes in his essay. painting has always been an outcome of some action, or specific technique, by an artist. Kuster puts action painting in the context of the course and aims of modern art while also recognizing it as a specific area with its own techniques and ambitions. Other essays expand on topics and issues concerning what has been defined as action painting. One of these engages in a ranging comparison of Pollock and Picasso as two prime representatives of different avenues, sources, and expressions of modernist art.

The enlightening essays take up at most one quarter of the book. The book will be appreciated mostly as a survey of the leading artists of action painting and their varied styles.
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