Susanna Salk


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Pollocked
Saturday, February 2nd, 2019


It was found in the trash near Yale University around the time de Kooning (Jackson Pollock’s close friend) taught there, by a service repair man who collected discarded art. He kept it until his death (never trying to sell it) and when his estate came for sale, a local auction house I frequent took it under its wing. It’s signed “Pollock” in the corner but no one will authenticate it, the blurred strands of its provinence are far too random and suspicious. Yet for me, briefly this morning, they felt serendipitous.  Of course it couldn’t have been a real Pollock yet there was something in its confident, dense strokes that demanded I pay closer attention. The auction house was asking $5000 as an opening bid. A pittance or a bargain? They were not claiming it was a real, rather just putting its journey to their walls “out there.”

Was this just another one of those indulgent stories about a supposed masterpiece being found in an attic  or was it something to be trusted and pursued, the ultimate pay off not just being monetary ( would I really ever sell it even if it was real?) but the reaffirmation that extraordinary things could somehow, sometimes, happen in the universe. 

If some student did it to mimic Pollock- whether as a fun prank or as intentional fraud – in a way that I still love it regardless of its creator, does that merit whatever price I am willing to pay and what am I willing to pay? Is the memorable story of my “discovering” it this morning: the enjoyment of the auctioneer’s tale while he tapped on a Newport light in the dusty preview room where it hung; my excited ensuing call to my husband (skeptical but willing) best friend (very skeptical) son (wanted it even if it’s not a Pollock) and the delightful hope I suspended myself in like a hammock for a glorious two hours until an art expert tells me it’s definitely NOT a Pollock, merit its place on my wall as much as if somebody told me it was a real Pollock? My pondering strangely never dips into the cynical, rather it seems to coat the canvas like another layer of paint.  As much as I wanted it either way now, I also know somehow it was already out of my hands.