Exhibit | Looking Beyond the Drops with Jackson Pollock at MoMA, New York

Without question, Jackson Pollock is known first and foremost as the creator of the drip painting. A giant of modern art — one of the era’s primary creators – Pollock defined entirely new forms and techniques for painting.

However, Pollock had many years of painting behind him before he invented his drip work, and New York’s MoMA examines much of that earlier work in its current exhibit, Jackson Pollock: A Collection Survey, 1934–1954.

Also: Exhibit | Exploring the Clyfford Still Museum, Denver

MoMA has always had a special relationship with Pollock and widow Lee Krasner – an influential artist in her own right and the keeper of Pollock’s estate until his death — as the New York-based artist couple were a major player on the city scene in the 1950s. The museum offered many exhibits of Pollock’s work over the years, and this comprehensive look ranks amongst the best.

Pollock spent years exploring everything from representational to narrative to abstract work, and MoMA covers all aspects of his career in this retrospective. His earlier work is dramatic and richly colorful, creating everything from detailed environments to abstract examinations reminiscent of works from Picasso and Kandinsky.

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Of course, any retrospective on Pollock must include his drip paintings, and MoMA adds one of his most important – One: Number 31, 1950. At more than 17 feet wide, the painting was a defining moment for modern art and startled viewers with the size and vision of Pollock’s work.

Pollock did not end his career with the work for which he is most famous. Before his untimely death in 1956 at the age of 44, he returned to abstract painting on a more traditional scale and began to explore sculpture. MoMA includes samples of that late work alongside One: Number 31, 1950.

There’s still time for lovers of abstract art to enjoy this comprehensive look as Jackson Pollock: A Collection Survey, 1934–1954 runs until May 1.

You can see more glimpses of the exhibit and learn a bit about how to best enjoy a drip painting in the gallery below,

All photos by John Scott Lewinski, Courtesy of MOMA