In the Washburn Gallery Booth paintings, drawings and a mosaic by Jackson Pollock will be installed with related Native American works from the Donald Ellis Gallery to demonstrate the cross-cultural influences in Jackson Pollock’s development.
Kirk Varnedoe wrote in his catalogue for the Museum of Modern Art’s 1958 Jackson Pollock exhibition, “In the 1930s, Pollock began haunting the Heye Collection (now the National Museum of the American Indian) and the Museum of Natural History.” But “the prime event was the large exhibition Indian Art of the United States, mounted by the Museum of Modern Art in 1941; Pollock went several times, and made sure to attend the demonstration in which Native Americans created an image on the ground by “painting” with colored sands dropped from their fists." This technique evolved into Pollock’s now famous “poured” paintings from the late 1940s and 1950s.
Early works by Leon Polk Smith from the 1940s demonstrate his Indian heritage and will also be shown in the Washburn Gallery Booth. Leon Polk Smith was born in Oklahoma when it was Indian Territory. His parents were Cherokee and Smith grew up with Chickasaw and Choctaw tribes. When asked about the influence of Indian traditions, Smith replied “I think that freedom of color came out of my relationship with the Indians. There was something more that’s not visual. In the Indians’ philosophy, thinking, and the way of talking or telling stories, so much detail was left out, so much was abstract.”