Hans Namuth 1915-1990
Pollock Painting (1951)
Music, Morton Feldman

Hans Namuth was not initially interested in the work of Jackson Pollock , but was convinced by his teacher Alexey Brodovitch that Pollock was an important painter. In July 1950, Namuth approached Pollock and asked to photograph the artist working in his studio. Pollock agreed, encouraged by his wife, Lee Krasner , who was aware of the importance of media coverage. The resulting images helped to demystify Pollock's famous "drip" technique of painting, revealing it to be a deliberative process rather than a random splashing of paint. They "helped transform Pollock from a talented, cranky loner into the first media-driven superstar of American contemporary art, the jeans-clad, chain-smoking poster boy of abstract expressionism ," according to culture critic Ferdinand Protzman. Not satisfied with black and white stills, Namuth wanted to create a color film that managed to focus on Pollock and his painting at the same time, partially because he found more interest in Pollock's image than in his art. His solution was to have Pollock paint on a large sheet of glass as Namuth filmed from underneath the work. As Namuth could not afford professional lighting, the film was shot outside Pollock's Long Island home.

Morton Feldman in UbuWeb Sound