Matthew Marks is pleased to announce Jackson Pollock & Tony SmithSculpture, the next exhibition in his gallery at 502 West 22nd Street. Pollock and Smith, both born in 1912, were colleagues and close friends and this exhibition celebrates the centennial of their births.
There are five small sculptures in the exhibition, all dating from the mid-1950s, including the last two sculptures Pollock made and three of the earliest Tony Smith sculptures. The Pollocks and one Smith were made on the same weekend in July 1956, in the backyard of Smith’s home, only weeks before Pollock’s death in a car crash on August 11.
Tony Smith and Jackson Pollock met in the late 1940s at the time Pollock was making some of his greatest paintings. While their work shares little stylistically, their many shared interests included Native American sand painting, modern architecture, and the writing of James Joyce, and they quickly became close friends. Pollock was a painter who loved to make sculpture and Smith was an architect who loved to paint and finally found his calling in sculpture.
The sculptures Pollock made at Tony Smith’s home in 1956, which are exhibited here for the first time, are constructions of wire, gauze, and plaster. Shaped by sand-casting, they have a heavily textured surface similar to what Pollock often sought in his paintings. The sculpture Tony Smith made the same weekend was created by pouring thin concrete into an egg carton. The resulting grid of geometric shapes relate both to his earlier Louisenberg paintings, and the hexagonal motifs in his architectural work. Smith’s 1954 wood sculpture, included in the exhibition, is one of the earliest examples of Smith’s sculptural work.