As Jackson Pollock takes to the silver screen, Lynden Barber
ponders our obsession with the suffering artiste THERE is no
doubting Australia has come a long way since the Blue Poles
fracas erupted 30 years ago. The fiery debate over the painting's
1973 purchase by the then Australian National Gallery was framed
in epochal terms of philistinism versus artistic integrity. Now
Jackson Pollock's abstract canvas is so widely accepted it is
virtually part of the Australian psyche.
But who was Pollock and where does Blue Poles fit into his
lifetime's work? Where did his revolutionary style spring from?
And how does his legend as an abusive drunk fit into the frame?
This month two cultural events endeavour to provide some of the
The first is an Oscar-winning biographical movie, Pollock,
directed by its star, Hollywood actor Ed Harris, and due to open
in limited national release next Thursday. The second is the
opening earlier this month at the National Gallery of Australia
in Canberra ...