Tom and Jack
November 22, 2011
Tom and Jack: The Intertwined Lives of Thomas Hart Benton and Jackson Pollock is more than a biographical look at the artists Thomas Hart Benton and Jackson Pollock and their relationship. It is more than a comparison of artistic influences. It is even more than a convincing argument that Benton directly influenced and helped develop Jackson Pollock, one of the most celebrated of American artists.
Author Henry Adams, who once worked in Kansas City at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, takes us into the studios of both men, and shows us how each approached art in general and drawing in particular. He goes behind the scenes to describe how an influential art movement came into being. And he takes several of Pollock's most important works and reveals their underlying structure. But most interesting to me is Adams' presentation of Benton: his teaching methods, his mentoring of Pollock, and a look into the art world's dismissal of Benton and his contributions as a muralist and painter.
I hope this book causes you to be more curious about Thomas Hart Benton. If it does, see Benton's mural, Independence and The Opening of the West, at the Harry S. Truman Library in Independence, MO, and his painting, Persephone, at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City. You can also visit his home and studio, the Thomas Hart Benton Home and Studio State Historic Site here in Kansas City.