Watch This: Jackson Pollock’s Mural: The Story of a Modern Masterpiece

I love art history, and, over the years, have particularly enjoyed learning about mid-century, modern artists. I’ve read biographies on Willem de Kooning, Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock  and others. The art world of the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s was alive with experimentation, and the public and culture at large was paying attention to art in an unprecedented way. Artists were receiving media coverage on par with actors and musicians.

I recently watched a brief PBS documentary on a Jackson Pollock mural commissioned by Peggy Guggenheim. The hour-long piece includes interviews with a variety of art historians, shows the restoration of the piece, and explores what was going on during the period when the piece was created.

Thanks to Dave Newman for recommending the documentary!

You can watch the documentary here.

What do you Think?

Did you enjoy the documentary? How do you feel about mid-century modern art? Share your thoughts and comments below!

About the Author: Jason Horejs

Jason Horejs is the Owner of Xanadu Gallery, author of best selling books "Starving" to Successful & How to Sell Art , publisher of, and founder of the Art Business Academy. Jason has helped thousands of artists prepare themselves to more effectively market their work, build relationships with galleries and collectors, and turn their artistic passion into a viable business.


  1. I saw Kevin Kelley (the director) speak last week at a local event. He is currently producing a documentary on art conservationist George Stout. It’ll start hitting film festivals in spring 2019.

    For those who want to go a bit deeper on the Pollock Mural, check out this video of a presentation by Yvonne Szafran, Senior Conservator and Head Paintings Conservation, J. Paul Getty Museum, which was broadcast on Iowa City’s public access channel a few years ago. It’s really good:

  2. Uncanny timing – I just watched a BBC series called The Code, which applies mathematics to our world. Jackson Pollock’s work was described as having properties similar to fractals. The entire series of 3 episodes is gorgeous and available on Netflix. I also blogged about the painting I’m working on and the process I use, which I don’t usually do. I’ll link your blog post to mine, since we are on a theme here!

  3. Loved this documentary. I posted the link on our discussion board for our Frida Kahlo class. It seemed applicable as we are also discussing Diego Rivera, Leonora Carrington, and Peggy Guggenheim, who were shown in the video. Thank you for this, Jason.

  4. Thank you for sharing Jason. That is also one of my favorite periods in the history of art. I am currently reading ” Ninth Street Women: Lee Krasner, Elaine de Kooning, Grace Hartigan, Joan Mutchell, and Helen Frankenthaler: Five Painters and the movement that Changed Modern Art”. I highly recommend it. I would love the titles of the books you have read about other abstract expressionist artists.

  5. The video is only available to those with a PBS account and I suspect not available outside the USA. Sad, I would like to see it. I think it takes a level of maturity to appreciate art outside of the regular landscape, portrait, still life and kiddie genres. I totally love non-representational art and know how challenging it is to create, but a large percentage of art buyers don’t understand it. Like all good things, it is an acquired taste.

  6. The link works perfectly. Fascinating account of the trials and tribulations. I have been delving into the world of non-representational lately with a challenge from my group DEVENIR. One painting per day for thirty days. It has been an interesting path of discovery. Of course, painting a small 6x6in is quite different to a painting 9x24feet (my first mural…). It would be fun to try.

  7. I learn about Jackson Pollock after I had other artists tell me that they thought my abstract art reminded them of his work. I have watched a movie regarding him in the past as I was curious to what he did which I found very interesting because our styles on abstract art is very much alike. I have received many award for my abstracts.

  8. Gallery owners, directors, curators, academics and art history experts appear to have a greater appreciation for art and the trends in the art world then the artist, well at least this artist. They treasure and study and catalog art. They even sell and buy art. They determine what art is shown or promoted and what is not. Most artists that I know don’t do any of the things that the suites of the art world do.

    So, if an artist creates great work and there is no sponsor to promote the work, is the work really great.

  9. Thanks for sharing this, Jason. I had the privilege of viewing the ‘Mural’ several times at the Art Museum on the campus of the Univ of IA. It was amazing.
    We lived in IA for 12 years, leaving the year after the flood. I often wondered what happened to the Pollock piece as we witnessed the flood of 2008 and the devastation it caused throughout much of the state. It was wonderful to hear about the ‘Mural’ being restored and then viewed around the world! I appreciate it even more, learning about its rich history – thank you!

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