Pollock Krasner House: A Haunting and Exciting Experience

A recent visit to the Pollock Krasner House and the work of Jackson Pollock told through the eyes of a 10-year-old art lover and her mom.

On Saturday July 28, my daughter Hailey and I traveled to the Pollock Krasner House in Springs.  Neither one of us had ever been there before and were very curious to see what it was all about.

For those of you who don't know, the Pollock Krasner House is a museum of sorts dedicated to the late great American abstract expressionist painter Jackson Pollock and his late wife, who was also an artist, Lee Krasner.

The house used to be their home and the property holds a barn that Pollock converted into his art studio.  After Pollock passed away, Krasner used his studio for her own work, but the two had entirely different methods of achieving their vision.

This past Saturday was the last day of the exhibition "The Persistence of Pollock" that had been running at the museum.  Before I arrived at the house, I envisioned it being a semi-quiet visit.  To my surprise, the museum was filled with people inside and out.  I heard the woman who worked at the reception desk in the house tell someone on the phone that the museum was "really busy today," and she figured it was because it was the last day of the exhibit.

When you enter the grounds you go to a little shed-like building, which is the gift shop and where you pay to get in.  It costs $5 for adults and children 12 and under are free.  It is very reasonable for an educational, family outing.

You can either take the tour with an audio headset that is provided in the main house, or you can obtain a written guide.  I chose to take the headset for my daughter and I. 

The tour starts out by standing outside and facing the creek in the backyard that is said to have provided an immense amount of inspiration to Pollock.  Then, you are led into the barn which was Pollock's studio.  When you walk in, you are instructed to take off your shoes and put on these foam slippers.  Although some people visiting may not understand, I knew right away.  Pollock used to lay his canvasses on the floor in his studio.  He said he had to let his paintings live.  He felt they had life and he didn't want to try and control them.  He said he tried to be "in" his paintings.

The floor of his studio is a canvas in itself and wearing the slippers protects what I consider one of his greatest masterpieces.  My feet tingled when I stepped on the studio floor.  I felt this energy go through my body.  You can still see outlines of white paint on the floor from where he worked on a particular canvas.  It was overwhelming.  I felt greatness, but I also felt unfinished business.  Seeing how Pollock died in a tragic car accident, battled alcoholism and mental instability; I wonder if his soul finished it's work.

My daughter, Hailey, lit-up when we walked into the studio.  That is when she made the connection, that she too, at 10 years old, knew very well who Jackson Pollock was.

Hailey would like to share her story with you:

In art class this year at school we learned about Jackson Pollock and did "Drip Paint."  We learned different techniques how to drip paint.  You take your paint brush and you make a throwing motion with the brush onto the paper.  You also flick the brush with the back of your finger.  Also you can put a dab of paint on paper and you would blow on the paint with a straw and it would go everywhere.

My teacher showed us videos of him in class doing his drip painting and he was always smoking.  My teacher told us after the video that he always had to smoke when he painted.

I didn't realize who my mom and I were going to learn about until we went into the barn, and I saw the pictures of him and his paintings.  Then I remembered everything.

I really liked the studio.  It felt creepy to me though.  The floor was cold with the slippers, and it was covered with drip paint.

I liked their house, but that felt creepy too.  The floors were creaky and you couldn't go in any of the rooms upstairs, because they were blocked off, but you could look in the rooms through by putting your head over the plastic and look around.  The kitchen was old fashioned and I liked it.  There was a t.v. in the kitchen showing a video of a girl painting the floor with her hair.  My mom said she would do that, but I wouldn't.

In the dining room their is a dress with drip paint on it that Pollock created for a lady.  I really liked the dress and I would wear it if I could.

In the backyard there was a lot of space.  It went really far back, all the way to the creek.  There were blocks on the ground where the barn used to be, because Jackson Pollock wanted to move the barn.

I had a really good time at the museum and I learned a lot even though I already knew some stuff from art class.  I want to go back again.

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Ben Reichart August 01, 2012 at 08:42 PM
Well,I can tell you this much. My father did some plumbing for this Pollack fellow. Watched him paint. The man was drunk as a skunk and didn't have a clue what the heck he was doing. Dripping and flicking paint around. He laughed like crazy and laughed all the way to the bank. Probably still laughing. You may think him some kind of genius but I know the truth,
Deborah Amell August 01, 2012 at 10:52 PM
WOW! What an educational experience for you Hailey and Amy! There is history all around and for those of us who choose to experience it and share, history will continue on!!!! Great writing, keep at it! Choo Choo NaNa
Audrey Stonemetz August 05, 2012 at 02:14 AM
To think I knew and adored Jackson as well as Lee! I played as a child at his house watched as he threw paint had lunch with my friends never knowing of him or even thinking of him being famous! He was a friend who loved kids and was always good to them! The house looks nearly the same however there was no running water it was a pitch pump in the house then of course an out house! A wonderful friend and careing gentlemen yes he liked his booze but always a gentlemen! Ironically upon his dimize he was killed in a fatal auto accident two doors from my home ! I WILL NEVER FORGET THE SQUEELING AND SCREECHING OF TIRES AND SUDDEN THUMP AND ALL WENT QUIET! Jackson and his girl friend were doa! Thier friend and possibly another lady friend lived on!
Amy Tangel August 20, 2012 at 03:20 PM
Audrey, I would love to talk with you sometime. It seems like you have many amazing stories from your childhood.


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