We just returned from a five-day journey to Long Island to visit Kirk's sister and her husband.
The highlight of my trip was a solo visit to the Pollock-Krasner House. Amy and Lon's house is right around the corner from the museum, actually right near the spot where he was killed. I had called the museum a couple weeks before we went and signed up for the last open spot in the Friday guided tour.
I arrived early by about 15 minutes, which I spent wandering the grounds, marveling at what a beautiful and peaceful spot it is. The site holds the house they lived in and the barn, which was his (and later her) studio. Just behind the house is a pile of boulders, assembled by Pollock. The last photo of him before his death was taken about eight hours before the accident on one of the rocks. It was a bit eerie, sitting there, looking out at that view, knowing it was one of his last movements. Incidentally, the day I took the tour was the 50th anniversary of his death. Weird.
I bonded with our docent while we waited for the rest of the people to arrive--his daughter had given birth to a preemie the night before, and, being a preemie, I reassured him that this doesn't have to mean bad things...As a result, I got probably a better tour than everyone else, and he introduced me to the museum curator and the rest of the staff before I left. Very interesting people.
Anyway, we walked all through the grounds, including into the studio (where I did, in fact, put on special slippers and stand in the space where he created his most famous works) and out onto the barn's original foundation, where he filmed the short reel with a Life Magazine photographer in the early 50's of the poured painting process. We also walked through the house, which has been left as it was when Lee Krasner died in 1984. The exhibit in the house is all his smaller works right now, and they were very cool to see. They're not as overwhelming as the big paintings, perhaps a bit easier to digest in a small amount of time. My favorite was actually a precursor to the full-on poured painting period, although the photos of it don't do it justice. Its ferocity gets lost on the flat page.
After I finished absorbing the museum, I drove the short way down the road to the Green River Cemetary, where Pollock and Krasner are both buried, along with many other area artists and writers.
While I was in the little museum shop, I bought this book
on the recommendation of the museum staff. The actual story part of the book is about 800 pages long. I'm about halfway through, and have just gotten to the part where he and Lee Krasner got together. I admit that their relationship--her absolute and all-encompassing devotion to him--was the most interesting part of the story they told at the museum to me. A little unfathomale. Not that she could have been that devoted--that part I can easily imagine. That she could have given over that much of herself without actually LOSING herself in him. But she didn't lose herself--not in his life, and not in his death, although I can't imagine how she managed to go back to that house after he died--sleep in their bedroom (though, I guess since they had twin beds, not in "his" bed), paint in his studio--alongside the ghosts that must have haunted her there.
Anyway...I came out of the experience feeling like my brain has been stale. Like I need to stir things up in my head a little bit. I haven't quite figured out how yet, but I figure it's a good sign. That's what art is supposed to do, isn't it? Stir up your brain?
The rest of the trip involved lots of walking and eating and some shopping, more walking and eating, sitting and talking and eating, and a playground trip. Will's favorite part was a tie, I think, between the playground and the beach.
We're all, however, happy to be home. Except Snickers, who stayed with Kirk's mom and gets much more attention there than he does here. It's tough to be the guinea pig...