From Floor to Wall, Art is Within Us All: Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center Tour
by Tiffany Leon
Located in East Hamptons, NY, the Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center is offering a set of virtual tours throughout the month of November. The tour offers a sneak peak of famed painters Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner’s home and studio.
Joyce Raimondo, the education coordinator of the cultural landmark, leads the tour with much knowledge and attention to detail. The tour is intimate as Raimondo begins the hour-long tour with an explanation of abstract art. Through the use of powerpoint slides and open discussions with participants, Raimondo explains the importance of the viewer within the realm of modern art. She explains that within modern art, the viewer’s interpretation is echoed throughout the artwork. This allows their experience to be individualistic and open-ended, just like how art should be. Joyce’s teaching philosophy is evident throughout the tour as she continuously refers to this definition as a foundation to understanding Pollock and Krasner’s former home.
After the powerpoint introduction, it was time to start viewing the artists’ former property! Raimondo does an amazing job replicating how an in-person tour would occur. She even showed off the foam slippers they offer guests when entering the studio, making the experience feel much less virtual. The Pollock-Krasner House is a barn in which the artists used as a make-shift studio. Raimondo highlights each and every aspect of the barn from it’s painting racks to the furniture. Each aspect of the barn had a purpose which was fascinating to learn. One of the most unique items in the barn is a human skull. According to Raimondo, while studying at the Arts Students League of New York, Jackson Pollock took a real human skull from the school to practice and study proportions. Raimondo highlights that this skull is a symbolism of Pollock’s early career as an artist as he was not always the abstract artist many today know and love. Instead, his early beginnings focused on representational art– representing subjects/objects from observation to a canvas in a realistic manner.
Studio Floor – Credit: Gordon M. Grant
One of the most highlighted aspects of the studio was the floors of the barn. As a viewer, it looked as if Pollock used the floor as his canvas. The iconic paint splatters and drips contrasted with the dark hardwood of the barn. Raimondo delves deeper to the artistic method that Pollock underwent to create his famed abstract pieces. According to Raimondo, Pollock would use long sticks to methodically drip the paint onto the canvas. Pollock was heavily inspired to use this method after watching a group of Native Americans painters dribbling sand on the ground at the Museum of Modern Art. Pollock relied heavily on gravity to paint, thus, unlike a conventional artist, Pollock would lay his canvas flat on the floor. In the 1940s, the method of solely dripping paint was experimental as Pollock paved the way towards pure abstraction in art.
After showing a full tour of the barn/studio, Raimondo takes viewers outside to visit the artists’ home. Over time, the home has become an exhibition of the various works of art that both Krasner and Pollock created. Although the house does not contain the artists’ most notable works, it was still enjoyable to view the range of talent that both artists held. Krasner and her close acquaintances created art using found objects. One of which is a sculpture of various white painted rods and toys that was transformed into a functional water fountain.
Overall, Raimondo’s extensive knowledge of the property provided a wonderful insight to the lives of both Krasner and Pollock. It explored the many hidden wonders that both Pollock and Krasner left in their East Hampton property. The tour also became a time of collaboration in which Joyce ensured that each participant left with a new outlook of art and how to teach it to those around you. Raimondo concluded the tour with an ode to her teaching philosophy and the importance of teaching art to foster individuality. Art steps far from the norms of society. Without reaching past our comfort zone, unconventional works of art such as Pollock and Krasner would have never gained the notoriety it has today.
Additional virtual tours are scheduled for 4pm on Nov 17, 19, 23, 24, 30.