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Old 08-28-2017, 09:13 AM
Artnome Artnome is offline
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Art And Death. How Many Paintings Could Jackson Pollock Have Made?

Hi all, I have been exploring art history through data. Thought folks here might enjoy my latest post.

https://www.artnome.com/news/2017/8/...lock-have-made

A recent article in Five Thirty Eight does a nice job of giving more background on my project. Feedback welcome!

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features...log-the-world/

Thanks!

-Jason
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Old 08-28-2017, 01:24 PM
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JohnEmmett JohnEmmett is online now
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Re: Art And Death. How Many Paintings Could Jackson Pollock Have Made?

Quote:
356 of Krasner's 600 artworks (59%) were created between the age of 44 and her passing away at age 75.

Extremely helpful data.
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Old 08-28-2017, 01:28 PM
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caldwell.brobeck caldwell.brobeck is offline
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Re: Art And Death. How Many Paintings Could Jackson Pollock Have Made?

Interesting article, though I doubt a statistical approach to the issue is particularly valuable. Sample sizes are just too small, the cultural environment changes too much, etc. Using Schiele's death, for example, is rather pointless - the Spanish flu took lives very quickly, so it wouldn't have had much of an impact on the evolution of his practice (other than to just kill it along with him). On the other hand there is already a significant body of research work with respect to artists in their old age; while Dormandy's Old Masters was this book was moderately well received in the popular literature 15 years ago or so.

As for other life events among us peons, well it seems just about every other artist these days is writing about how this or that effected their art. It does get a little tiresome!

BTW, your link to the "Artnome community" at the bottom of the article is somewhat broken, the Slack page says "This invite link is no longer active./ Please check with the person who shared it with you to see if there's a new link available."

Re. the 538 article; well some people like to create conceptual boxes for everything, and then try and force things into fitting them. One of the real pleasures of art is in breaking those boxes and setting things free. So enjoy your hobby!


Cheers;
Chris
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I suppose I have to do this too (my blog, & current work). My Visual Arts Nova Scotia page.
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Old 08-28-2017, 03:34 PM
Artnome Artnome is offline
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Re: Art And Death. How Many Paintings Could Jackson Pollock Have Made?

Thanks for the feedback Caldwell and for pointing out the Slack link was broken Apparently it resets every 30 days. New link below if interested in joining the community:

https://join.slack.com/t/artnome/sha...ZjkwMjA3OGUxNg

I would say most folks I talk to would agree with you that a statistical approach to art is not particularly valuable. It actually makes many folks upset. I come at it as an appreciator of art initially just wanted a better public inventory of known works. Now that I have the data it seems natural to play with it and try to learn new things about the art and artists I enjoy. I think a lot of the value may be in the most obvious things, how many works, where are they, what are they made of? Because I am more of an artist than a statistician it is my nature to break boxes, trying to break the "you can't measure art" box at the moment. It's been a fun journey so far. Thanks again for the thoughtful feedback.
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Old 09-05-2017, 09:38 PM
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Re: Art And Death. How Many Paintings Could Jackson Pollock Have Made?

Thanks Artnome. Have you ever read much Nietzsche? You might enjoy the following linked fragment from his The Gay Science, Section 373,"Science" as a prejudice. [the link is to my own blog on blogspot.com; it has a content warning because I do put up nude work there and I don't want to bother with complaints. But other than that, it's safe.] The kicker is in the last sentences:
Quote:
But an essentially mechanical world would be an essentially meaningless world. Assuming that one estimated the value of a piece of music according to how much of it could be counted, calculated, and expressed in formulas: how absurd would such a "scientific" estimation of music be! What would one have comprehended, understood, grasped of it? Nothing, really nothing of what is "music" in it!

Maybe it applies to your thinking, and maybe not. But Nietzsche is always a delightful read. It certainly had a big impact on how I think about art.

There's another article that is also somewhat related that I put up in the first post of the AI Generated Art thread in the Café Guerbois here on WC.

I do like the idea though that you are trying to break the '"you can't measure art" box'. Perhaps because what we can measure stops being important to art, and leaves us even more room to play So I hope I haven't sounded dismissive, and do carry on. FWIW, I was at one time heavily involved in applied math and stats - mostly target detection, tracking, and analysis, with forays into other fields - and often use Bayesian theory as a reasonable metaphor for aspects of aesthetics. So I'm not unsympathetic. But I'd much rather be painting

Cheers;
Chris
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I suppose I have to do this too (my blog, & current work). My Visual Arts Nova Scotia page.
Art is the most intense mode of individualism that the world has known - Oscar Wilde
Look for yourself, think for yourself, draw your own conclusions. Then own them.
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Old 12-10-2017, 11:28 AM
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Re: Art And Death. How Many Paintings Could Jackson Pollock Have Made?

Your article says:

Quote:
Why do this analysis? I think there is potential for a whole new area of study on the impact of life events on the productivity of artists. How, say, would the birth of a child, a marriage, or a death in the family impact artistic production in terms of quality, quantity, and content? What about macro-influencers such as war, plague, famine, recession? How do these impact individual artistic output?

It seems to me that you are attempting to apply the "fashion" of industrial widget production analysis, to an artist. Artists may or may not produce widgets, for sale as commodities in a marketplace. Jackson Pollock certainly didn't produce widgets IMO. I would go so far as to say, the vast majority of widget producing artists, are not known to history and will not be curated.

If the paintings are not widgets, then questions of quality vs. quantity aren't terribly interesting. You can't "bench test" 2 such paintings to determine which is "better" than the other. There is also no linear relationship between labor hours expended, and the perceived quality or financial value of the final product. Jackson Pollack's work is quite divisive in this regard, although I personally believe he was a conscientious painter and wasn't simply "slopping". Cy Twombly on the other hand, is the least conscientious painter I've yet encountered, and his work is still worth a lot of money.

I think the number of labor hours a given artist expended on their work, would be interesting to track, if one could get that information. Which in most cases one can't, historically after the fact at any rate. Artists can tell you anecdotally things like, "Yep, once I had a kid, I had less time to paint". These are not remarkable observances about Life, and attempts to statistically treat them strike me more as mental masturbation about the ability to collect statistics, than anything else. The qualitative, narrative statement that "child rearing impacts one's time", is enough. Unless of course in the case of a given artist it's false, in which case we can get the "Mommie Dearest" type memoir from their offspring.

Death, tragedy? These are complex, subjective, psychological and cultural issues. Statistical treatment of such is crass. Try instead to deal in disciplinary terms suited to the phenomena, i.e. psychology, anthropology, possibly even theology if it's relevant to a specific artist.
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Old 12-26-2017, 12:00 PM
Bruce Everiss Bruce Everiss is offline
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Re: Art And Death. How Many Paintings Could Jackson Pollock Have Made?

Had Pollock lived longer we would have had a few more generic drip pictures.
Had Giorgione or Masaccio not been taken so young the whole history art would probably be different. Their innovations changed art.
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Old 12-26-2017, 02:20 PM
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Re: Art And Death. How Many Paintings Could Jackson Pollock Have Made?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Everiss
Had Pollock lived longer we would have had a few more generic drip pictures.

Why do you label them "generic" ?

Quote:
Had Giorgione or Masaccio not been taken so young the whole history art would probably be different. Their innovations changed art.

Their actual innovations seem to have been much studied and further developed, so it's not as though their actual stylistic achievements were lost to history. Your claim supposes that they would have innovated something further beyond what they did. Otherwise, where would the change be?

What do you imagine their next "groundbreaking achievements" might have been, that they didn't get to? Why wouldn't they just keep working on the "successful products" they'd already come up with? Milking a franchise is something I've definitely seen time and again in the modern world. When someone in their 20s or 30s comes up with something valuable, and needs wealth to secure mates, produce children, etc., milking that cash cow is awfully tempting.

Also I would note; the overall talent pool was much smaller back in the Renaissance. That's something to remember about all of those "historical greats", whether for Art or Philosophy or Literature or whatever. How woudl they look if they had to compete in a modern marketplace, with so many millions of people putting their "great ideas" out there? And how much of the ideas are due to long term historical prejudice, i.e. few women, few people of color?
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Old 12-26-2017, 04:13 PM
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Re: Art And Death. How Many Paintings Could Jackson Pollock Have Made?

I enjoyed the article. I also was going to bring up people like Georgia OKeefe, who lived long and painted up to the year they died. One thing though: When you researched Pollock's father and siblings to see how long they lived: I don't know how accurate it would have been to use this to indicate how long Pollock would have lived. My grandmother died at 99 years old, my mother died at 78, my sister, and brother both died at 53. Comparing various lifespans is not really
an accurate measure. Also "IF" you maintain good enough health to do your art, you may be able to continue till you are in your 90's. I've seen enough (non-famous) artists who had to give up certain types of art because the materials they used were toxic, causing allergies, or they could not deal with them physically (due to health or physical weakness problems). So even if Michelangelo lived until 99, would he be free of arthritis? So it is not just "being alive" that creates artwork. You have to be physically and mentally able to do it, unless you are going to be like Worhal, and hire a bunch of grad students to do your painting for you.
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