Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Art History

First Advisor

Margaret Lindauer


In 1998, the Museum of Modern Art held a retrospective exhibition of artworks by Jackson Pollock. Curators Kirk Varnedoe and Pepe Karmel worked in an art historical context that had been significantly shaped by the early critical writings by Clement Greenberg and Harold Rosenberg. The curators’ stated intention for the exhibition installation was to provide “a fresh chance for new generations of artists to come to terms with a legendary figure” and to enable “the broader public to reassess a quintessentially American artist in light of three decades of new scholarship,” without “ hewing to any particular critical dogma.” Despite this curatorial intention, this thesis examines the ways in which the retrospective inscribed Greenberg’s and Rosenberg’s theories, while disregarding subsequent scholarship that did not explicitly inscribe or align with the mid-century criticism in its account of Jackson Pollock.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

December 2012

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