(Originally posted at http://joelnoche.multiply.com/journal/item/92/Jackson-Pollock-Blue-Poles on March 10, 2012 9:47 AM)
When I was a child, I could not understand why people liked Jackson Pollock‘s paintings. It was only when I read Richard Taylor’s Order in Pollock’s Chaos in the December 2002 Scientific American did I understand. Taylor cites a paper he coauthored in Nature; its abstract starts: “Scientific objectivity proves to be an essential tool for determining the fundamental content of the abstract paintings produced by Jackson Pollock in the late 1940s.” It turns out that Pollock’s paintings have fractal properties. It was through mathematics that I was able to see the beauty in Pollock’s paintings.
The painting above is Pollock’s 1952 Blue Poles, which is featured prominently in Taylor’s article. (I got the picture from here, where controversy about who really did the painting is discussed.) It was bought in 1973 for US$2 million by the Australian Government and caused quite a scandal at the time. In 2006, it was estimated to be worth between $100 million and $150 million.