Pollock, Ossorio, or Dubuffet?

Artists Jackson Pollock, Alfonso Ossorio, and Jean Dubuffet forged a fascinating friendship and transcontinental artistic dialogue, borrowing and exchanging techniques from each other as they experimented with their individual styles. Angels, Demons, and Savages highlights this exchange. Upon entering a room in the exhibition, you may find it hard to tell which artist painted which canvases.

Test your knowledge: can you identify which artist painted each of the below works from the exhibition? Answers after the jump.

Nine paintings by Jackson Pollock, Alfonso Ossorio, and Jean Dubuffet

Can you match each image with the artist who created it?

Continue reading “Pollock, Ossorio, or Dubuffet?” »

Dancing with Demons

In this series of guest posts, three choreographers from CityDance talk about the artwork that inspired their movement for this Thursday’s Angels, Demons, and Savages-inspired Valentine’s Day Dance Experience(UPDATE: this program is sold out). Read Lorraine Spiegler on Alfonso Ossorio’s The Helpful Angels here. Below, Christopher K. Morgan discusses Jackson Pollock’s Untitled (1951).

Jackson Pollock, Untitled, 1951. Enamel, India ink, and graphite on paper, 29 x 22 in. Private Collection © 2012 The Pollock-Krasner Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Jackson Pollock, Untitled, 1951. Enamel, India ink, and graphite on paper, 29 x 22 in. Private Collection © 2012 The Pollock-Krasner Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Researching l’art brut guided my direction for the piece. Given the title of the exhibition, I half expected the paintings to be connected to mythical and religious demons. But as I learned more about l’art brut, I began to interpret the paintings as exploring and coping with psychological demons. Many artists in this movement studied or worked with patients in insane asylums, building upon their own intimate knowledge of battling with stability. There’s a level of intensity and obsessiveness in the imagery which anyone with rigorous ballet training understands on some level. This concept resonated with our sophisticated conservatory dancers, and they ran with it. As we developed the choreography, we explored the idea of presenting beauty to the audience, then turning away to let an uglier, less glamorous side emerge. The movement also mimics thrown paint, the idea of expelling these torturous obsessions when they’ve reached their boiling point. Like the paintings in this exhibition, Demons is partly a reflection of how inner turmoil might present itself on the surface.

—Christopher K. Morgan, artistic director of CityDance’s resident company Christopher K. Morgan and Artists

Get Ready to Face Your Angels, Demons, and Savages

Alfonso Ossorio at the Creeks, 1952. Photograph by Hans Namuth ©1991 Hans Namuth Estate, Courtesy Center for Creative Photography. Jean Dubuffet’s Francis Ponge (noir sur fond), 1947, appears at near left; Jackson Pollock’s Number 1, 1950 (Lavender Mist) at center; and Dubuffet’s Les Petits Yeux Jaunes, 1951, at right.

Alfonso Ossorio at the Creeks, 1952. Photograph by Hans Namuth ©1991 Hans Namuth Estate, Courtesy Center for Creative Photography. Jean Dubuffet’s Francis Ponge (noir sur fond), 1947, appears at near left; Jackson Pollock’s Number 1, 1950 (Lavender Mist) at center; and Dubuffet’s Les Petits Yeux Jaunes, 1951, at right.

Left to right: Jackson Pollock’s Number 1, 1950 (Lavender Mist), 14); Jean Dubuffet’s Paysage métapsychique (Metapsychical Landscape), 1952; and Alfonso Ossorio’s Reforming Figure, 1952. Photo: Sarah Osborne Bender