DALLAS, TX.- The Dallas Museum of Art
announced today that it has acquired one of Jackson Pollocks only existing sculptures, a work that offers unique insight into the artists creative trajectory. Created just weeks before Pollocks death, Untitled (1956) is one of just six of the artists sculptures in existence, all but one of which are currently held in private collections. The sculpture is currently receiving a rare public presentation in the DMAs celebrated exhibition Jackson Pollock: Blind Spots, only the third major U.S. museum exhibition to focus solely on the artist, and the largest-ever survey of Pollocks black paintings.
Primarily known for his iconic drip paintings, Pollock produced more than a dozen sculptures over the course of his career, many of which were later lost or destroyed by the artist himself. The surviving sculptures reflect Pollocks distinctive aesthetic and inform a greater understanding of the experimental, almost improvisatory approach that characterized his practice. Rarely exhibited during his lifetime, Untitled (1956) seems to precede the aesthetic sensibility variously known as Anti-Form, Post-Minimalism, or Process art which would be carried out in the following generations by artists such as Eva Hesse, Richard Serra, Bruce Nauman, and others.
The acquisition is one of two extant sculptures that Pollock created in the summer of 1956, while he was staying at the home of his friend and contemporary Tony Smith. Struggling with depression and unable to paint, Pollock produced over the course of a single weekend a series of vivid abstract sculptures composed of sand, plaster, wire, and gauze. These sculptures are believed to be Pollocks last completed works prior to his death in a car accident at the age of 44.
The sculpture was acquired by the DMA from the Tony Smith estate, with support from The Gayle and Paul Stoffel Fund for Contemporary Art Acquisition. Untitled becomes the third Pollock work to enter the DMAs modern and contemporary holdings, which also include the highly regarded paintings Cathedral (1947) and Portrait and a Dream (1953).
The DMA has long played an important role in showcasing the legacy of Jackson Pollock, from becoming one of the first American museums to acquire his paintings to being the first in nearly 50 years to exhibit his influential black paintings series, said the DMAs Interim Director Walter Elcock. We are deeply grateful to Gayle and Paul Stoffel for their support of this acquisition, which makes the DMA one of only two museums in the world to hold a portion of Pollocks surviving work as a sculptor.
Even as his work as a painter transformed the landscape of 20th-century art, Jackson Pollock repeatedly returned to sculpture throughout his career as a means of investigating the liberating qualities of non-traditional forms and materials, said Gavin Delahunty, the DMAs Hoffman Family Senior Curator of Contemporary Art. The receipt of this rarely exhibited work into our collection represents a perfect capstone to our ongoing exhibition of Pollocks black paintings series, itself a step toward our understanding of another under-examined vein in the artists practice.
Jackson Pollock: Blind Spots is on view through March 20, 2016, at the Dallas Museum of Art.