Remember address books? Remember methodically writing down and updating your friend’s address and phone number? Remember how valuable they were?
The Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center in Springs re-opens this Thursday, May 4, with “Creative Exchanges,” an exhibit centered around the dozens of artists found in the address books of world-renowned abstract expressionist painters Lee Krasner and Jackson Pollock. Several of the people featured in the address books were highly-lauded artists in their own right and also lived on the East End themselves. Three address books from the 1950s and 1960s that once belonged to the couple will be on display at their former home in Springs, offering insight on the people closest to the pair, professionally, geographically and personally.
“The books really show their personal connections and relationships,” says Helen Harrison, director of Pollock-Krasner House.
Co-curated by assistant to the director Theresa Davis and docent Jim Bauer, “Creative Exchanges” not only showcases the contact information of 75 of their closest friends and professional contemporaries, but also includes an exhibition of the artwork from over 30 of the artists whose names and contact information are in the address books.
“We own one of Lee Krasner’s address books,” she says but, according to Harrison, it was Bauer who discovered the other two while they were on display in the cheekily titled exhibit, “Little Black Books,” presented by the Archives of American Art at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.. With the help of countless other institutions, collectors and galleries, some local and some not, Davis and Bauer were able to borrow not only the other two address books, but also paintings, sculpture and photographs to display around the small interior of the first floor of the house.
“The biggest difficulty was picking what to display,” says Harrison, which was ultimately decided based on who the three believed were closest and most influential to the couple. “I had to referee a little bit,” she laughs.
Set to be featured in Thursday’s opening are works from James Brooks, Reuben Kadish, John Little, Mercedes Matter, Hans Namuth (who famously documented both Jackson and Krasner working at the location) and Alfonso Ossorio, to name a few. The exhibition will be on view through July 30.
Since 1988, the Pollock-Krasner House has served the community as a national historic landmark, preserved and owned by the Stony Brook Foundation and dedicated to telling the story of its former artist inhabitants, who lived there from 1945 until their deaths. Located at 830 Springs Fireplace Road, the grounds include the two-story 19th century home the pair lived in, with all the original furniture, artifacts and decorations that were there when Krasner died in 1984. Pollock’s studio barn also remains, splattered paint stains and all, in the back of the 1.5-acre property that overlooks Accabonac Creek.
“It really helps people to understand where the art comes from,” says Harrison, noting the special natural elements of the property. “And I believe it was crucial for their creative development.”
Pollock-Krasner House is open May through October, offering guided tours Tuesday through Sunday. Entry is $15 per person. Stony Brook University students, faculty and staff are admitted for free. Advance reservations are required and there are no walk-in admissions. To schedule a tour, visit www.pkhouse.org.