twenty-eight: a letter for Mr. Pollock

January 28, 2011

Dear Mr. Pollock,

Happy Birthday! If you were still alive you’d be 99 years old today. I think we both know you probably wouldn’t have made it to 99, but I like to imagine what you might have created had you not had that unfortunate car accident. You missed seatbelts by a few years…

You are one of my favorite artists. I like your work, but I find the story of your life particularly fascinating. I wrote a term paper on you in college. At the time I was living in London, and all the books I researched called you a cowboy. I thought that was hilarious—then again you were born in the wild west of Wyoming. I loved learning about your art and the way it evolved over the years.

I live in New York City so your paintings are never far. I like to stand in front of the giant murals at MOMA and see what I can find stuck between the layers of rich paint. Your work pairs quite nicely with music, did you know that? I always take away a renewed appreciation for the splatters, the risk you took and the obvious effort of ‘action painting.’

This summer I took a tour of your house in the Springs of Long Island. Your studio was my favorite part. I stood in paper booties staring at the floor, trying to decipher where your famous canvases were brought to life.

Thank you for your contribution to the cannon of art history. You will live on in your work, where no doubt we’ll be celebrating you for another 99 years. I hope there is cake wherever you are.




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