Ellen Landau The Wild One Analysis

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The Wild One

“The Wild One” written by art historian Ellen Landau focuses on the psyche of post World War 2 American society and how Jackson’s Pollock’s influence was able to shatter the conventions of an “American hero”, simultaneously bringing about change to what is considered to be an acceptable approach to picture making. Landau’s article begins by asking the question “is he the greatest living painter in the United States?” , she lays this as the platform for her central argument, linking this argument by thoroughly evaluating Pollocks deep rooted personality traits which brought about his own unique style of art making.

In this article Landau discusses the relevance of Pollocks approach to painting and how method acting correlated towards the process of abstract expressionism, tying in Pollock to method actors Marlon Brando & James Dean. Landau aims to discuss how American society used Pollock, Brando and Dean as a counter culture to their already growing bureaucratic and deeply homogenised society, praising them as “rebel heroes” who spoke through action rather than words, redefining the meaning of an “American Hero” and also leading to Abstract Expressionism becoming an artistic manifestation to an emerging subculture called the “Beat Generation”. Landau is
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Landau concludes the article by reflecting back to the central argument of whether or not “Jackson Pollock is the greatest living painter in the United States”, Landau supports this statement with a resounding yes as she credits him as being the most influential character ever produced in America also referring him to have “virtually singlehandedly brought about the long-awaited aesthetic triumph of America over the centuries-old hegemony of

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