Pollock Confidential

Laurence King. Apr. 2020. 112p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781786276223.
Gr 9 Up–Italian cartoonist Catacchio (Stella Rossa) presents a spare but provocative sequential art introduction to some political and personal moments in the life of American painter Jackson Pollock. Taking the viewpoint of a mid-20th century CIA operative assigned to guide the unwitting artist in order to promote abstract expressionism (“to counteract the cultural influence the Soviet Bloc is having on Western artists and intellectuals”), the book explores relationships among the main players, including Pollock, his patron Peggy Guggenheim, and his wife Lee Krasner, as well as Pollock’s crowd of anti-government protesting peers who peopled the Irascibles, and, as significantly, Pollock’s relationship with alcohol. Catacchio’s hues are beautiful, whether of nighttime arrivals at Pollock’s lit house or at the beach, with Krasner in a posture that pays homage to mid-century bathing suit advertising. Because the author provides little background on the political realities and Pollock’s own biography and artistic theories, this title is best suited for older teens who have some knowledge of at least one of these concerns.
VERDICT For exhaustive high school collections that serve readers who can analyze storytelling and Pollock’s role in political history.

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