Archive for the ‘silly artists’ Category

Maybe He Never Got Laid…

September 26, 2007

Reportedly, Jackson Pollock, when asked how he knew when he had finished a painting, retorted, How do you know when you have finished making love? What I want to know is, what the hell does he mean? I mean, was Jackson Pollock a guy, or wasn’t he? Ok, that’s a rhetorical question, because we all know beyond doubt that Jackson Pollock was a guy. And here’s one thing about guys: they know when they have finished making love. There are very poetic descriptions in many languages and cultures of how men know that they have finished making love. In Indian movies, the act of finishing making love is shown by the crashing of waves on a rocky shore. When you have seen the waves crash on the jagged rocks, with white foam spraying all over, you know that the lead male character has just discovered that the act of love making he had started a few shots ago, has come to an end. Finis. Done. Cut, and it’s a wrap, someone get me a smoke.

I really think Jackson Pollock is referring to the act of making love, and not the feeling of being in love. If he had said, How do you know when you are finished being in love, I wouldn’t be scratching my head as I am doing now. I could even agree with him that one cannot even know when one has started being in love. Perhaps one is in love with the object of one’s affection even before one has met that object! Perhaps, a person doesn’t even have to be born, and already there are people who are in love with them. All of these can make perfect sense. If a woman can be in love with just the idea of being a mother, long before there is a man available to nervously hand her flowers on a first date, leave alone impregnate her, then why can’t one imagine that the love a man will feel for a woman, or the other way around, doesn’t start the moment he conceives of the kind of woman he will fall in love with? If a man isn’t so specific that his ideas refer to only one woman, why, even that isn’t a challenge, because all it means is that he has started being in love with all of the women that fit this description and that he will eventually have romantic relationships with, if he’s lucky.

But when you think of making love, it’s an entirely different story. Look, you get into bed, you take off your clothes, you kiss each other a lot and indulge in other acts of foreplay, then you engage in intercourse, and then you are done. I can tell you that the intermediate steps might differe from person to person — heck, some folks never take off any clothes, while some don’t even get aroused throughout the whole process — but one thing remains invariant across the entire damn human race, and that is that at some point in the love making process, the two — or three, or four, or forty, or four hundred — people involved know that it’s done.

Maybe Jackson Pollock, being the prominent artist that he was, the kind of prominence that must be rewarded by, not just associated with, a wildly Bohemian lifestyle, was referring to a rotating orgy when he made this remark. Maybe he was accustomed when having sex, to entertaining nothing less than a party of scores of people coming and going, dipping into each other with as little forethought and emotional attachment as one might muster to refill one’s punch. Under these circumstances, one can understand his perplexity. You don’t know when you’ve finished making love in such a melee. You’ve come now, but if you wake up after a brief snooze in a half hour, or three even, there will be people around willing to help you ejaculate again. The entire experience is a work of art, and you never know when it has come to a satisfactory close.

I’m reluctant to entertain the notion that this is what he was talking about. To begin with, Jackson Pollock did not regularly participate in sexual orgies. Secondly, the metaphor doesn’t have artistic weight unless the point is to refer to daily conduct, the quotidian sexual lifestyle that most of us achieve, at least in the early phases of marriages, and certainly in the heady parts that precede the marriage. If the artist doesn’t characterize what we all do and take for granted in his grand statements, the statements aren’t as grand.

Which leaves me to conclude, that Jackson Pollock was all bollocks.