Saturday, May 3, 2014

Jackson Pollock photo
Jackson Pollock's first large-scale painting, Mural (1943), in many ways represents the birth of the Pollock legend. Rumors about this seminal work abound—it was painted in one alcohol-fueled night, it didn't originally fit the intended space, among others. Its creation has been recounted in dozens of books and dramatized in the Oscar-winning film Pollock (2000, 122 minutes, 35mm).

Yet there was never a doubt that the creation of the painting was pivotal, not only for Pollock but for Abstract Expressionism, which would follow his radical conception of art—"no limits, just edges." Tom Learner, head of science at the Getty Conservation Institute, discussed Pollock and Mural with award-winning actor and filmmaker Ed Harris who spent close to a decade working on the film. Jeff Beal composer of the film's musical score and art historian and Pollock expert Pepe Karmel joined them.

About the Panel

Ed Harris made his feature film directing debut on Pollock, receiving an Academy Award nomination as Best Actor for his performance in the title role. His co-star, Marcia Gay Harden, won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar under his direction. Harris' film credits include Appaloosa, History of Violence, The Hours, Pain and Gain, Gone Baby Gone, The Truman Show, Apollo 13, The Way Back, Copying Beethoven, The Right Stuff, The Abyss, The Rock, The Human Stain, A Beautiful Mind, Stepmom, The Firm, A Flash of Green, Places in the Heart, Alamo Bay, Sweet Dreams, Jacknife, State of Grace, The Third Miracle and Touching Home. Most currently, he stars opposite Annette Bening in The Face of Love, which opened in March 2014.

Jeff Beal came to Los Angeles in 1993, after his "Concerto for Jazz Bass" was recorded by John Patitucci on Chick Corea's new label. His big break came when Ed Harris called on him to score his directorial debut Pollock (2000). Beal's unique blend of Americana, minimalism, and chamber orchestra caught the ear of many in Hollywood where he is now a well-regarded and award-winning composer of music for film, television, recordings, and the concert hall.

Pepe Karmel is an associate professor of art history at New York University. His areas of expertise and research include Picasso, Pollock, Cubism, Minimalism, Contemporary Art, Critical Theory, and Art and Perception. He was co-curator for the 1998 exhibition Jackson Pollock at the Museum of Modern Art and was one of the Pollock experts consulted by Ed Harris in preparation for the film.

Tom Learner is head of Science and leads the Institute's Modern and Contemporary Art Initiative. Recently he has been collaborating with the Getty Museum on the ongoing study and conservation of Jackson Pollock's landmark painting Mural, which is on view at the Getty Center through June 1, 2014.