FREE SHIPPING IN THE U.S.

Uniquely cool. Shop our new patterned styles.

Episode 29
Lost Jackson Pollocks

  • 2 min read

Episode Description

00:57 - Discussion with J.T. Ravize who has spent the last twenty years fighting to authenticate a collection of Jackson Pollock paintings that could represent a missing period in the artist’s work. We discuss the difficult process for authenticating any found piece of art, but especially the work of this particular artist. Regardless of whether or not you are a Pollock fan, it is an interesting story with no easy answers. Visit https://wyomingworkinggroup.com/ to see images and read more about J.T's project.

Transcript

Craig: [00:00:10] This is Art Sense, a podcast focused on educating and informing listeners about the past, present and future of art. I'm Craig Gould. On today's episode, I speak with J.T. Ravize, who has spent the last 20 years fighting to authenticate a collection of Jackson Pollock paintings that could represent a missing period in the artist's work. We discuss the difficult process for authenticating any film piece of art, but especially the work of this particular artist. Regardless of whether or not you're a Pollock fan, it's an interesting story with no easy answers.

Craig: [00:00:56] So, J.T. Ravize, thank you so much for joining me on the podcast this week. Jt, we I first met you at an art event in L.A. and I was amazed by what you had because it looked just like a Jackson Pollock. And when I asked you, What is this? Your response was Jackson Pollock. And then my head kind of spun and J.T. Can you kind of explain to us, you know what? We're looking at what we are looking at with the Wyoming Working Group? What what is it that you, you have your hands on?
Show More >
JT: [00:01:44] Thank you very much for having me on your show today, Craig. It was a pleasure to meet you. And as I've said to you before, I never, ever expected to be talking about this in public. I always thought I was going to be kind of under the radar, low key thing and just the way things have worked out over 20 years now, which is unbelievable. But true, coming up in April, it will be 20 years that I've been researching this group of paintings along with my wife and we are the business entity, Wyoming Working Group, and we just picked that name because Jackson Pollock was born in Wyoming, and so it seemed appropriate. And we live in Zephyr Cove, Nevada, which is on the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe. And my wife and I are pretty well known for doing landscape books, and her poetry is nationally recognized and we do landscape photography and poetry about Lake Tahoe. And that is generally used as an advocacy tool using art, poetry, photography to advocate on behalf of Lake Tahoe in Washington, D.C. and every day that we're here in Lake Tahoe, we just want people to take care of the place. And so we do our best to celebrate it with our books. And that's our, as I say, our day job. And then what's turned into night school of at least Ph.D. one or two with respect to Jackson Pollock and his life and career and history and market. It's just something that a friend of mine, you know, it started 20 years ago by a friend of mine saying, Hey, I'm talking to this guy and his neighbor has some paintings by a guy named Pollock or something.

JT: [00:03:47] And it literally started and I said, maybe Pollock. And he goes, I don't know. He says Pollock, and which the old guy with his accent, how he used to say it. Jackson Pollock. And so anyway, that's how I started. And they said, Hey, can you go down and take a look? His rancher neighbor has been kind of poking around for three or four years and and you know, it's obviously it's obvious when you look at the paintings on the wall and then look at Pollock's books and catalog raisonné that it's most likely Pollock. And what's going on here, and you have a lot more experience in the art world than this other guy. So why don't you take a look? And that's basically how it started in April of 2002. And I went down with my wife, Linda, and looked at four paintings, and even though I didn't know that much about Jackson Pollock at the time, more than your average heart interested person, I had been studying fractals, which are patterns in nature. I didn't know they were called fractals at the time. I was just interested in patterns in nature and by studying them for a quarter of a century. I just come to understand patterns of nature. And so when I saw the paintings initially, it struck me that it wasn't random chaos that your cat or dog or five year old kid could do that.

JT: [00:05:12] There was something going on, and that's basically how it started. And so at this point in time, you know, we're in in Lake Tahoe, and I have amassed probably one of the world's best collections of Jackson Pollock literature, research, ephemera, books, exhibitions, catalogs, et cetera, just studying what this is all about. And so the bottom line is is that a gentleman had a large collection of drip poor pollock masterworks that he had for 50 years the same consistent story I got him from a girlfriend, not Ruth Klugman. A girlfriend or a friend that was a girl of Jackson Pollocks named Helen. And basically that was the the story that there was a young artist named Helen. Which this is definitely part of the unraveling of this story and the peeling, the onion layers, et cetera. Is there was always a name, Helen Rod Field. But the as you know, this person who was a friend of Pollock's lived in Greenwich Village, and that was the connection. But the closer I got to this guy's passing in 2014, this Mr Nemeth was his name and the older, you know, more. We got into this and the closer to his passing that he got, the more he would say Helen Frankenthaler. And so I, even after 20 years, don't know if this collection. Was going through the hands of two different Helens. Or Helen Rodfield, which has always been like in the literature and the stories and everything. Or if it was also or really it was Helen Frankenthaler. So there's just the basic story.

JT: [00:07:13] Whole bunch of paintings that this lady had that Jackson Pollock had placed with her. Free prior to the about to happen. Biggest museum show of his life, which had been given to him in 1956 by the Board of Directors at New York MoMA. Nelson Rockefeller at the time was the chair of the board and they had something going on where they said, Well, we want to do a series of mid-life retrospectives and we're going to start. Our finalists are Picasso, Motherwell and Pollock. And they chose Pollock, which brings up a really important part of this whole thing, which is the disconnect or disinformation that exists with respect to what Pollock was doing in the last three or four years of his life. And it's one of the first questions out of the box is why would the board of directors of the prestigious New York Museum of Modern Art New York, MoMA give a show midlife retrospective to a guy that future? Tellings of this story in life, mostly Lee Krasner were, oh yeah, he was just drunk and he wasn't doing anything from 1953 to 56. A guy who had painted 40 to 50 paintings a year and then he just, nope, he only painted 15 paintings. That's what's recorded in the catalog resume that was put together by Lee Krasner. Kind of, you know, anointing and appointing, you know, Francis O'Connor and Eugene thought to do a four year process between 1975 and 1978 to pull together the, you know, quote unquote catalog raisonné. This is what we know of Jackson Pollock's career and life output.

JT: [00:09:17] I've come to think of it much more as an exercise of exclusion rather than an exercise of inclusion with respect to the paintings that they included, which, you know, they picked them. They wrote it, they photographed it. Yale University Press printed it in 1978, but it's the life of Jackson Pollock, according to their vision, their agenda. And so in my 20 year process of researching what I've really found is that there is, you know, quite a bit of a disconnect from the popular version that's been advanced over the last 50 years and is very institutionalized by now. Whether it's, you know, reference books or college textbooks or whatever. You know, here is the story of Jackson Pollock's life. And that's the way it is. And I would just have to beg. I would beg to differ. So anyway, you know, they put this document together, but I don't believe that it's accurate. I believe that something else was going on. All of this is informed by 20 years of research. I believe that Jackson Pollock was. Selecting or segregating a body of work from which he was going to make his final pulls for the show that was scheduled to take place in November of 1956, there was you know what this collection constitutes or is made up of is a remarkable and and large huge. I've been tracking it down, you know the story and the people and the paintings. And there's at least 100 of. Sure. You know, some of the best are absolute best drip, poor paintings of Pollock's light that the story is he hand-selected and had, you know, with this younger artist friend girl Helen.

JT: [00:11:26] And nobody expected him on August 11, 1956 to die in a car crash. But he did. And this young gal all of a sudden had a large stash of Pollock drip paintings, and the FBI interviewed Mr. Nemeth twice in 2012 about the story the paintings. Did you paint them all that? And he's like, No, I didn't paint them. I did. I'd be famous and rich and everything. They're just a group of paintings that I got. And they came to me through a friend of the Helen or Helen's, and and that was it. You know, and so the FBI interviewed him twice, said, OK. They didn't find any reason to go any further. And, you know, question his story or, you know, they did their own research and came back with, well, OK, looks like what the guy is saying is accurate. So it's really odd, you know that? No. Well, especially Eugene Thaw and Francis O'Connor, who were the godfathers for sure of the entire Pollock world and art market and. Canvia everything Pollock for many, many years from the mid-seventies until their passing in 2018. I mean, they were the ultimate arbiter. They they were the guys that you wanted to have and weigh in one way or the other. If you really cared about somebody, you know, weighing in and giving their appraisal or perspective or connoisseurship, they were the ones. And we spent well over a decade trying to get both of either Eugene Thaw and in the case of Francis O'Connor, more than 15 years knows both. Both of them were 15 years or more to come to the table, with no no set parameters like We just want you to come and look at these paintings and say what you want to say. And they would not do it. And so anyway, it's like, well, OK, if they're not going to do it, that's really odd. And how else would you go about the process of attempting to authenticate something? That there was no formal authentication board for due to its having disbanded in 1996 at the time. Bill Lieberman, Frances O'Connor, Eugene Tharoor, Ellen Landau comprise that Jackson Pollock authentication board from 1984 to 1996. It's my. View an opinion after all these years that. They knew most or all about this story in this collection, I believe. Well. There's so many different tangents, and I'm hoping that this kind of get into this and have a discussion today that will follow up on because this really is a gigantic, huge story. The bottom line of which is, you know, are these authentic Jackson Pollock. And there's we've done two and a half million dollars worth of research with the top scientists in the world since 2003. The answer invariably is, well, of course they are. If it wasn't Jackson Pollock, they would have been authenticated a long time ago. This is what you know, politics and market influence, and all of that is about sure.

Craig: [00:15:17] So maybe, maybe that's a good place to to kind of back up and kind of explain to people what the situation is for trying to authenticate any painting that you want to sell as what you say it is if you have provenance. So a chain, you know, a direct chain of lineage that usually that's the best course. And that usually results in that painting being listed in what's called the catalog raisonne and the catalog raisonné for any particular artist is usually completed by some board of authorities on that particular artist, and it is hopeful to be a complete cataloging of everything that's been verified to be real. And if it's if it's in the catalog and you can match your painting to what's in the catalog, then you have a seal of approval. But what you

JT: [00:16:20] Have, you have a start,

Craig: [00:16:22] You have a start, right?

JT: [00:16:24] But is is on in the world of Jackson Pollock that it is an intentionally dysfunctional authentication mechanism, which is forward for saying it's their business plan. It's how they control the market, it's how they control paintings. You know, part of the documentation we have with this is that the Helen person and the person who bought them and acquired them from this, Helen started buying work from her in 1955, while Pollock was alive and started buying canvases from Pollock. Pollock was well known for selling stuff, bartering stuff, selling it to the neighbors, groceries, et cetera. And on any artist, it's extremely difficult to say with any certainty and conviction and truth. Oh yeah, this is by. We know for sure this is the entire life's output of the artist. It's just impossible. Even Eugene Thorne, Franz O'Connor say it in the catalog resume. They say, you know, we're sure that at least six percent of Pollock's work is unaccounted for. And so in 1978, when they said that, that would have been about 70 paintings. But it's much bigger and different than that. And to me, you know, as I go back, my question is I'm positive that Lee Krasner new, I'm positive after 20 years of research and checking it out. I'm positive that Lee Krasner knew that there was a rather large collection out there and that a lot of what she did between 1956 and 1984 when she passed away was just kind of manage and tell the Pollock story the way she wanted to.

JT: [00:18:16] There's no questioning that Pollock was a pain in the ass and a difficult guy to be around, get along with whatever so you know, their famous relationship of fighting and hassling and whatever is is what it is. But I don't think that Lee Krasner wanted this either. I know it. I know she didn't want this other work being known about because she didn't control it. Is that simple. You know, another thing about this with this large body of work is that, you know, the top world art forensic people have looked, you know, a lot of them. And you know, invariably the comments are, you know, oh my God. And on some of them, including one of them, that I'm going to have up on the wall at the L.A. art show 20 22, coming up January 19th to the 23rd. There's one I'm going to have on the wall that in our classification system we call C, as in Charlie eight, and it's 13 and a half feet long and it's hands down one of the best things he ever did. And frequently I've had comments of. That's one of the four or five greatest masterworks by any artist in the 20th century.

JT: [00:19:37] And so any painting this part of this kind of group, each painting has to go through the process of examination, scientific testing, connoisseurship, you know, nobody's giving them a pass. If anything, as one early forensic art scientist said in 2007, who is an extremely influential person in the art world, said I'll bet these turn out to be some of the most studied research paintings ever in the history of art. And I was like, OK, whatever. So anyway, the process of authentication is difficult enough anyway. If you don't have the airtight provenance, which you know, acknowledge we acknowledge on, this is not that airtight. If it was, we'd be selling a billion dollars worth of two billion dollars worth of Jackson Pollock stuff. No questions. But you know it is a question. But I also believe that it's a question that there is an answer to and that by finally going more public now and going to the public and saying, Hey, our target audience is about 80 to 95 years old and who might know something about this? Somebody has to know. Well, we know a number of people know about it, but who knows a lot about this and is willing to talk about it on the record. So, you know, that's the issue now, and you're helping the process of the paintings tell the story, I'm just the guy who started this research thing with my wife 20 years ago, and this thing's been dragging us all over.

JT: [00:21:22] I often say it's kind of like the old man and the sea, where the old man catches this great fish and then it drags them around. Know the Caribbean for three days and he's like, Oh my God, what did I hook into? So that totally is true on this. We had we had no. I thought there were four paintings when I started this, and even that would have been amazing. And one of the very first people I went to was Amy Meyer, whose husband Jack Meyer at the time was number two at the Getty and she was in charge of. Some department paintings, whatever, at the Huntington, and now I believe she is back at. Is it Yale University, anyway? Just somebody I need to reconnect with, because 20 years ago, due to my having worked with her previously on another art project, I went to her and she said this comment, and I'll never forget it was June 18, 2002, having lunch down there in Los Angeles. Amy, I get this kind of, you know, weird thing, whatever. Just I got this thing.

JT: [00:22:23] This guy, you know, has some old Pollock's. How do we go about the process of authenticating and making this happen? And one of her comments was, don't expect them to be happy about this. You know, I'm going and thinking, Wow, how cool for Jackson Pollock's? They're like national treasures. This is amazing. And she immediately gave me some of the best advice, and that was, don't expect them to be happy about this. And I had no, you could have been talking to me at it and I didn't get it at all. And 20 years later, I'm like, Oh, OK, I get it. So it's it's a huge white elephant in the room, 800 pound gorilla, whatever you want to call it. But at this point, we really are going public with it to find out what the real answers are. That can be dug up and still exist with either living people or very odd things like Clement Greenberg. In the 80s, leaving a box with a Southern California institution, saying this is not to be opened until 30 years after the death of Helen Frankenthaler. And Clement Greenberg passed away in the 80s and and Helen Frankenthaler, who we threw a cut out, tried to get to talk a bit and she wouldn't. But there's it just keeps coming back to that. There is.

Craig: [00:24:06] Yeah, I mean, you know, Frankenthaler dated Greenberg mid-fifties. She wound up marrying Motherwell. It was, you know, known to be, you know, to have some sort of at least professional sort of relationship with Pollock. I mean, it's it's touching all the right, you know, all the right notes there, but let me back up for a second. You know, going back to the question of, you know, how does someone go about authenticating a painting, you know, say, you know, somebody were to show up at a garage sale and buy something that happens to be a Van Gogh? Right? That, you know, how how does someone go about, you know, authenticating and getting a seal of approval? And typically and typically what happens is there's, you know, an assessment of a) artistically. Does it fit? b) Is there some reference to the painting in the journals or whatever? Then it's a question of material sciences, right? Is the canvas correct for the period? Is the canvas lucky enough to actually match another canvas because they were torn from the same bolt of fabric? Are there stamps or or labels on the back from where it went through a particular gallery or house? Is the paint consistent? You know, the more modern a paint is, the more synthetics are in there. That just wouldn't be period appropriate. And I feel like, you know, if you kind of triangulate all that you can come up with, you can make a case. But at the end of the day that you know who, who's to say, well, typically it's the people that are putting together the catalog raisonné. And if if that person is willing to say, yes, you know, you've stated your case well and we, you know, we have that authority to say that, to agree, then you get the stamp of approval. But sometimes you can have all the all the evidence, but still not get the stamp. And so can you kind of.

JT: [00:26:27] This goes back. Sorry to interrupt, but just it's there. This goes back to the whole concept of authentication in general, but specifically Pollock going back to that, you know, little statement of intentionally dysfunctional authentication mechanism. The polygraphs are foundation recused themselves, you know, years ago from deciding to weigh in on authentication matters. And I honestly believe that it was because of this large collection. They were just between a rock and a hard place, and it was better for them just to deny, deny, deny and not try and look at something which is, you know, a comment I have from several of the top art forensic world experts who went and said, You know, hey, we're interested in finding out some answers and some research. And what's interesting is that originally authentication was, you know, mostly the scholarship connoisseurship angle. That's all you could do. And it was only about the year two thousand, really that scientific technologies became available. That would allow someone to take a parallel track of authentication, which was well in absence of perfect provenance in absence of a catalog raisonné board of experts that want to weigh in on it. What are you left with? Well, you're left with attempting to create a case of fact that you can present to a court of law or the court of public opinion and just say, Hey, you know what, 20 years millions of dollars of research.

JT: [00:28:14] Here's what we've found. We know that the real answer is out there and kind of that's the part of the research phase now, which is now it's like open source. It's like, OK, you know, good, bad or ugly. You know who has something legitimate that can be confirmed that they want to contribute to this question. This discussion, you know, the different parts of the authentication question and case that we're putting together. As you mentioned, it includes materials analysis. So you're analyzing the paint, you're analyzing the support, you're analyzing the canvas is the canvas weave something that the artist has used before? Absolutely, definitely. There are several different canvas weaves in, and among the paintings that had, you know, comprise this large group. And in the large group, there are canvas paintings on paper, paintings on Masonite, paintings on cardboard, predominantly canvas and paper. But you know, that's the case that we're putting together is materials. Then it's the whole thing of connoisseurship. How does it come? Here with specific examples from the catalog raisonné and then the whole question, which in 2007 we started before even one single reference or mention of it had ever been done, which is the whole thing about time trying to figure out DNA match and what really is involved with that. And we were just literally too soon. You know, so much has changed and evolved since 2007 with respect to the knowledge collection testing bodies of evidence out there that can be accessed.

JT: [00:30:08] And so I really find myself in a place now of going back to the drawing board after 20 years and saying, What did we do right? What did we do wrong? We're going to we're going for it now. So to put together a body of evidence that everybody are most 99 percent of the people in the world can agree on. You'll always have some doubters and whatever. It's just especially with Paul. You're just trying to put all of that together. And the DNA thing is a huge question for us. And part of our process of being stonewalled and rebuffed and ignored or suppressed by the polygraphs and our foundation because we have attorneys letters from over a decade. Excuse me, you've allowed many other experts to go and sample the floor. Photograph things, look for paint samples, look for DNA, hair samples. Why are you excluding us? And so anyway, I really do find myself unbelievably at this juncture of like, OK, well, what have we actually accomplished? What do we need to accomplish? We need to accomplish the authentication of the group as a whole and to bring them out. And more than attributed to Jackson Pollock, they deserve or at least all the ones that pass the test. They deserve to be recognized as original Jackson Pollock and included in his life work because many of these.

JT: [00:31:45] Getting back to the whole concept of was this, you know, a handful by Pollack, because the ages of these paintings range from early ones, meaning early trip '45, '46, '47, well, even earlier than that, you know, the very first step in the catalog raisonné, there's something called the 1943. It was something about the galaxy where you start to see a little bit of the dripper and then '46, '47 especially full on. Here's here's this thing I'm doing. So, you know, there are paintings in this overall group that are from early in the career and then you can you can totally match up stuff with '49, '50. '51, '52. And then it's our contention that a lot of this collection is '52 to '56. And part of that story is the arrival of Clyfford Still into the the hood, as it is the springs back in nineteen fifty one. And this is a really interesting reference point. This is something you wouldn't have known before 2011. Clyfford Still unbeknownst to everybody except his wife during his life, only sold 6% of his work and kept over 2000 pieces that, you know, for the people that are familiar with it, that he left the wife with instructions. Hey, if you go to a major city that will build me a gallery to my specifications, got to have skylights.

JT: [00:33:16] You can't have a cafeteria, you can't show anybody else, you know, whatever specific things he had. If they do that, build me a museum, I'll give them all the work. And so it was Atlanta and maybe Philadelphia and whatever. And Denver actually want a winning, and there's an interesting correlation I'd mentioned this in, you know, the only public lecture I've ever given on this at the last show back in 2020, February 7th that there is an exact correlation with the arrival of Clyfford Still who was famous for thumping about, Oh my god, forget the galleries. Forget the museums, forget the collectors we paint because we're artists. We do this because that's who we are, is what we do, you know? And so there is, you know, for the scholars, a real point there of was it in fact Pollock drunk or just not painting '53-'56 or with the influence of Clyfford Still that he start to become much more selective about, Hey, he's totally right. I'm paying this because I like painting. I'm, you know, this is what I do is who I am. I don't, you know, in fact, I am on record as not being too happy with my gallery, you know, reps and museums and the whole thing. So there is a, in my opinion, formed by twenty years, a real correlation.

JT: [00:34:40] And I believe there are answers to be found there in the relationship between Clyfford Still and Jackson Pollock and the whole thing about saving, giving paintings away, et cetera. You know, Jackson Pollock's first. Um, you know, serious rep. Peggy Guggenheim, you know, their contract from 43 to 47, I think it was $2500 a year and she, the contract said, got every finished painting that Pollock did in a year with the exception of one that he could pull. And to me, it was a very good explanation of why so much of Jackson Pollock's work is unsigned is that if you have a contract with Peggy Guggenheim that says she gets every signed, every finished painting that you do in a year, it's pretty easy to just go well, I'm still working on it. I haven't signed it. I mean, you know, I pull these up after six months. Maybe I want to add a few more squiggles or whatever. So anyway, that's another kind of aside about Pollock and his work and how much of it is signed or unsigned. But but going back to the whole thing of, you know, keep saying that there's a disconnect. There's a disconnect with the standard story that's been told that was told initially by Lee Krasner and now kind of is just like institutional memory. And what really happened in fifty three, fifty six? And so, you know, you're definitely treading on sacred ground there, you know, you're definitely yeah, you're treading on hallowed ground.

JT: [00:36:18] And so, you know, there's there's a tremendous amount of resistance. And but the odd thing is it's not in public, you know, it's what's going on behind the scenes for the last 20 years. That is I don't know if you know Ronan Farrow, but maybe Ellison. Listen, or maybe a friend knows. I I think it would be a remarkable story and research project for him to check out and or somebody like that because, you know, as this comes to light, and in 2010 11, you know, we had Harry Moses of 60 Minutes, you know, fame and his, you know, being a legendary producer there who became interested in this through one of the forensic scientists who say, Hey, you know, Harry, you do that movie. What the bleep is? You know who the bleep is Jackson Pollock or the one single painting? Well, this is that like times 100. And so we had the the, you know, the nice experience of having Harry come out several times to Lake Tahoe to look at stuff, to actually have a one hour interview with the source, our source of all these paintings of the guy who for 50 years had them this Mr. Nemeth, that's never been seen. And it would be a really amazing thing, actually.

JT: [00:37:45] I just thought to right now, hey, we should actually have some of the some of that on this show. There is remarkable stuff that Harry in a, you know, face to face chair to chair one hour film interview with Mr. Nemeth, who same kind of thing was, you know, very reticent to talk and appear on camera and all that kind of thing. So he there some awesome information there. And and that's the type of thing that, you know, Harry Moses was all set. He found half a million dollar grant for this to be, you know, filmed, and it was supposed to be with that da Vinci, La Bella Prince USA and it was supposed to be a half hour on LaBella Prince and half hour on our thing of like, you're asked questions. And when the powers that be and remember this was Nova PBS, and we even went to the National Geographic headquarters in D.C. and said, Hey, we got this project. Are you interested in the international distribution? And they, you know, after about five minutes, we're like, Hell, yes. And so it was one of a number of times when we saw the power of the political influence, the pull of the people, you know, Eugene, who associated with Pollock, where one day we had a half million dollar grant and the next day was like, Oh, sorry, they pulled your money.

JT: [00:39:15] And I had like, Harry, what happened? He goes, I'm not really sure. I'm trying to find out an answer. I've never really had this happen before. And so, you know, once again, a side discussion for for a future podcast. But anyway, somebody that we have, you know, 15 years once we did our first year and a half of research because that's how our research process went, is that we heard about this in April and said, OK, yeah, sure, whatever. But then the more we started doing research over a year and a half, the more that the answers kept coming back. It's all, it's polic. It's. It's Pollock, and we're like, Dang. Ok. And so that's when we started to understand a fraction of the magnitude of this and started interviewing and videoing with a professional cinematographer with the hopes of someday using it for a documentary or a movie or a PBS special or whatever footage. We have years of really amazing stuff that needs a really good editor and film person to put it together. And then you need a good story writer, you know, Ronan Farrow ish as far as doing like exposé, here's, you know, controversial blah blah blah, you know, whatever. And I just say his name because he did the Weinstein. And as it's. It's not for the faint of heart. I'll just I'll tell you that right now.

Craig: [00:40:54] So, you know, you can look at it a couple of different ways. I mean, at some point, I'm sure, you know, folks would love to be able to to monetize on the fact that that these pieces are able to be authenticated, but in from like an art historical perspective, right? If if these really are by the person, we think that you and you know you're making the case, then I'm I'm buying in that that if these really are by Pollock, they aren't just paintings by Jackson Pollock, they are some of the, if not the best paintings by Pollock. And it would be an injustice for his best work if the fact exists that these are by him. Absolutely right.

JT: [00:41:45] Absolutely. And you know, we had Steve Rubino, who's a famous attorney and a guy named Rob de Brouwer, who was actually a trustee on the board of State University New York, Stony Brook, who actually owns the Pollock Krasner? I mean, you know, the Jackson Pollock painting studio, they own it. And then the Kaiser Foundation, you know, leases that are uses it or whatever. But they went out of conversation with her and she just said, No, not interested. And they're like, Aren't you interested in who these paintings are from? Because they certainly appear to be some of the best pollock among the best Pollock's ever. And or if it wasn't Pollock, who was it? And she was just totally shut them down. Like, No, not interested. We just, you know, we've recused ourselves from authentication matters, which is a lame cop out. And and it's just how we're doing stuff right now. And that was probably in 2000. 14 inch, 15 inch. I can find out the exact time, but you know, that was there, just attitude like, nope, sorry, we're not interested. We don't we don't want to upset our version of the world. You know, our version of the polic world is flat and you say, it's this No, we're just not interested. And so that's and they said, you know, is that a responsible? Response for somebody who's, you know, allegedly the flame keeper, the the guardian posé of Pollock, the career and the body of work. So it's a really it's a tough, tough equation and question for everyone involved, which is why it's been easy for everybody to ignore it, sweep it under the rug and intentionally suppress it. What have you? And so but you know, now it's time, and it was time 10 years ago.

JT: [00:43:44] Like I said, if I understood that I would be where I am now, today, 10 years ago, I would have been doing this 10 years ago, but I was very happy with the thing of like, I just want to be in the background. This really is a huge, remarkable collection. We've already done a couple of million dollars of homework. It's, you know. If it's not every single one of these paintings in this collection than it is the vast majority of them, and that's just giving the nod to you have to ask the question where some of these like just slipped in whatever and it's like, fine, I'm, you know, that's reality. Everything has to prove itself so. But the Pollock Krassner Foundation has definitely been about ignored and suppressed and and they're in a no win situation too, because it's like, well, for us to acknowledge that would would mean that somehow we have to admit that at what point in time did we really know about this? And according to the forensic scientists that talk in closed door sessions with them, it's at least since the '70s. So it's it's a very difficult equation to figure out. How do you do this without destroying the artist, without destroying the artist's wife who was hiding this stuff, who came back from Europe a couple of days after the car crash and found a document that was a whole bunch of paintings and inventory in Jackson Pollock's own handwriting. And look at it and say, What the f? Where the heck are all these? And so it's anyway, it has to be done. I just really never thought I would be here, right?

Craig: [00:45:39] So if if people wanted to, if people wanted to know more, they can actually come see some of the work in person this week at the L.A. art show, correct?

JT: [00:45:52] Today is that we're doing this interview on the 10th and the show starts on Wednesday, January 19th, and runs through Sunday for anybody you know in L.A. or West Coast, you know, awesome road trip, Omicron. Oh, my crud is really just the latest freaking asshole of all of this, but seeing the paintings in person is the best, strongest argument for their authenticity, right?

Craig: [00:46:21] And I know that you have a magnifying glass at hand,

JT: [00:46:26] But it's totally fun. You would never get a chance to get up close and personal with these paintings, like in a museum like you would see in the booth. The other thing is that, you know, www.wyomingworkinggroup.com And you just have to type it into Google Search Bar because we don't even have it distributed to search engines. But if you go to www.wyomingworkinggroup.com, you know the start of the story is there. Excuse me. And only in the last year have we put that up as kind of an informational tool. And because we're still trying to decide, you know, what's better? A documentary, a book catalog? How do you do this? And literally, the whole conversation started with a phone conversation between myself and Eugene Thaw in October of 2002, where I called an IFR international research and just said, Hey, I hear, you know, the polygraphs and foundations not doing authentication anymore. There's no authentication board. I'm trying to do some homework. And what do I do? And he said, Well, you know, send us 500 bucks for painting and everything you know about it and all of the information. And we'll do a report. And then I said, which I probably shouldn't have. Isn't it true, Mr. Thaw, that at least with respect to Pollock, that when you produce an authentication report that the people writing the the report don't have to sign their name? And doesn't that mean really that there's absolutely no accountability? And I said that word for word.

JT: [00:48:13] And then there was this silence on the phone. It seemed like forever. It's probably 10 seconds. And he was just like, Well, you know, it's one way to look at it. And and that was it. And I wish I had been more Dale Carnegie tactful at the time because I think what we did there was tell him who the most recent person attempting to authenticate this large group of paintings was because, you know, I have definitely evidence of them looking at and saying, we just don't know from the '70s onward. So anyway, go to go and see, there's there's some story, there's paintings there, some of the there's some video and it's great just to look at them because they really are remarkable and by far for anybody who's able to. And thanks for giving me this platform because I want to do I want to partner with somebody and do a touring museum show. And that and the question is, do you call it the paintings from the nineteen six? You know, MoMA show that you never saw the museum show that never was, you know, something like that. That is, hey, guys, look at this astounding work for fans of Pollock. You know, there are definitely lots of people like Pollock, Shmulik, who cares. But for people who like Pollock, love Pollock, they're cool. I mean, you stood in front of them. Absolutely amazing.

Craig: [00:49:53] They are. And you know, I've I've seen my share of of people who have tried to emulate drip paintings. And you know, and that's that's one of the things they talk about. You know, the first litmus test in whether a work is actually as authentic is, you know, a gut test. And that's the reason that the people who are immersed in a particular artist, they don't need the whole story. They can tell you right off the bat this, you know, this feels right, this looks right. And you know, I'm not the world's biggest Pollock authority, but you know, from my perspective, it's very, very compelling. And and JT, I really appreciate you, you being willing to to share your time this afternoon to tell your story because it. And you know, I just hope that, you know, going forward, we can we can find a path for you to break down some of some of those walls because you know it. You know, like I said earlier, if if these are what we think they are, we owe it to Pollock to to set the record straight so that people can appreciate the work the way his his other work has been appreciated.

JT: [00:51:27] And because it adds to his, you know, life story and it adds to his body of work in a good way. You know, they're just flat out remarkable pieces from the smallest little guys, which I think you have to. They're 16 by 20 that I believe are some of the very first poor things he ever did on this art board. Thing with paint can circles on the back. I mean, as historical national treasure objects, but it's the big ones. This thing C8. There's another one called C2, and all those are on the website where you can just pull up and I'm going to be adding to that. But if you look, you can just see these trophy pieces that are as amazing as they look on screen. There's nothing like standing in front of these to make their own case. And as I always say in talking about this, this is a story about the paintings. You know me, I'm just a guy, my wife, we're just, you know, we're a photographer and a poet who do pretty good stuff from Lake Tahoe. And you know, that's our day job. But these things deserve the recognition they deserve, you know, the scrutiny that they're going to get and for people to finally go, well, of course, they're poorly. It's just a pain in the ass. The politics are so intense and the market and everything else, but it kind of that's Pollock, right? So.

Craig: [00:52:58] Well, JT, I again, I really appreciate your time, and I really do encourage people to check out your site and to get out there and see them in person if they ever have an opportunity. So next week, L.A. art show folks show up with a mask. They can come with a magnifying glass in hand and, you know, be a judge for himself, right?

JT: [00:53:24] And at the end of the day. It's what Pollock said. He's like, I don't care about, you know, museums, curators, Kelly. I just want people to look at my work. I want to enjoy it. And you know, that's how we present it is just simple, clean. It's like here. That's just he wanted. It didn't need a fancy place. But these paintings, you know, would thrive in a fancy place in the sense that, you know, once it gets put together a touring show of this around the world for a couple of years, I guarantee you will be one of the most highly attended art events and enjoy it. I mean, the fun thing, it's like, Wow, it's just beautiful. If you can just separate a little bit from the intensity of the politics, the money, the influence, the history, if you can separate a little bit from that and just enjoy them as a visual experience. They really, really are cool. And in closing, I just want to say thank you for giving the paintings the platform and furthering because this is a it's a process, it's a discussion. So thank you for allowing us to further the discussions, and I look forward to future talks with you and and following this story.

Craig: [00:54:31] Absolutely. All right.

JT: [00:54:33] Thank you very much.

Craig: [00:54:34] All right, JT.

Craig: [00:54:42] That's all the time we have for this week. You've been listening to art since you can find the show on Apple Podcasts, iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher Radio, Spotify or your favorite podcast app. If you've enjoyed this podcast, be sure to subscribe. And while you're there, please rates show and leave a quick review. Your feedback is the key to other folks finding us. If you'd like to see images related to the conversation, read a transcript and find other bonus features. You can go to Canvia Art. And click on the Podcast tab. If you'd like to reach out to me, you can email me at Craig at Canvia. Art, thanks for listening.

< Show Less

Search