April 24, 2010
Like many worthwhile things, it has taken some time to pull together the short film I told you about a few months ago on Jackson Pollock.
You may already know Smithsonian ran an article in December about Henry Adams’ book, Tom & Jack and the accompanying web story got over a million hits on the weekend it appeared! We can only hope this short little film gives the book an additional bounce.
This blog is supposed to be a diary. So what can I tell you about making this film? The big lesson for me is that content and story telling are the core of any decent cinema project. The production elements here are very simple. The charm is in the way the story is revealed.
This is the first video I have embedded into the blog and I hope it plays seamlessly for you. The full screen button is located right next to the word “Vimeo” on the video controls.
Henry Adams has a marvelous way of telling a story with fascinating and amusing side trips. Like the great British travel writers of the 1930s, the destination of his plots seems only the excuse for the hugely entertaining ancillary excursions. Henry’s blithe transitions from topic to topic take you into totally unplanned territory sort of like a wandering day trip on a sunny spring day in Italy. This time you find yourself mesmerized by the work of Abbot Thayer who Henry tells us made important contributions to the development of camouflage. Then Andy Warhol appears, as if out of a dream, and by the time its all over, you are not sure what it all means but you know you had a great time.
Imagine my amazement when Marianne Berardi sent me an email about Google jumping on the Pollock band wagon. This is from The T Magazine Blog of the New York Times from February of this year – a couple of months after the Smithsonian article appeared.
So what do you think? Many in my office felt the letters in the painting could be anything. Some claimed they could find their own names in the Pollock painting. I was charmed by the whole idea and felt that anything which caused you to spend more time looking at a great work of art was a good thing. The interview with the beguiling Marianne Berardi, however, changed my mind. Her point about “reading the painting” with the rhythmic spacing similar to letters is a very compelling argument.
There is more collateral evidence. A recent acquisition of a Pollock by the Butler museum shows the letter forms as well. Henry also points out (after having fun with his 10 year old as they tried to paint their own Jackson Pollock) if you just drip and throw paint around it looks repetitive and boring. Making letters in the air gives your drips more personality and variety. All of this we hope to include in another short film as well as (if we can find the money) a full blown one hour documentary of Tom & Jack.
Henry gives a lecture about the book at the University of Iowa next week. I am hoping he will post a comment here on their reaction to his discoveries.
Until next time with much love, I remain your,