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Most of us know that Pollock had vices, but the stamp is not about
showcasing them - it is about showcasing his process for creating art. I
am excited that they decided to use an image of Pollock in action. After
all, it was action painting, and the painting itself merely serves as a
record of his actions. The removal of his cigarette doesn't change the
action which created the image. Does it manipulate our perception of
history? Well, only if you are adamant that Pollock was incapable of
painting without a cigarette in his hand or mouth and if your only source
of art history is a postage stamp.
I consider this issue something akin to a "little white lie." Now I know
that someone will respond with the comment that lies are lies. Sure they
are, but think about it - we are talking about removing a cigarette from an
image of an artist at work on a postage stamp. If no one had brought it to
our attention, would any of us ever have known the difference? If it
introduces people to the work of Jackson Pollock and Abstract Expressionism
and in the process doesn't encourage cigarette smoking, then it sounds good
Stepping down from my soapbox,
Mark Brandau brandaum.us
Lake Oswego High School
Lake Oswego, Oregon 503.699.1430
"Never take art for granted, never take art too seriously."