Published on November 7th, 2018 | by Millennium Magazine Staff


Jackson Pollock’s Mural headed for the Columbia Museum of Art

Painting that changed the course of modern art debuts Wednesday, December 5

Columbia, S.C. – The Columbia Museum of Art (CMA) is proud to announce that Jackson Pollock’s Mural, the 20-foot-wide painting that catapulted the artist into the spotlight, brought audacious new scale and experimentation to Abstract Expressionism, and changed the destiny of modern art, is coming to the CMA in a landmark exhibition on view from Wednesday, December 5, 2018, to Sunday, May 19, 2019. Jackson Pollock: Mural, featuring the single, iconic work as well as in-depth scientific research on it and its creation myth, is part of a whirlwind international tour that includes premier European and American museums.

Pollock is among the most influential painters in American history, and Mural is widely recognized as a watershed moment for the artist in 1943. Mural is Pollock’s largest painting and was his first commission by legendary art collector Peggy Guggenheim, who wanted a site-specific work for the entry hall of her New York townhouse. Guggenheim moved to Venice, Italy, in 1947 and Mural was loaned to Yale University until it was donated it to the University of Iowa in 1951. Since then, the painting has remained in Iowa and rarely traveled. In 2012, the work was sent to the Getty Conservation Institute for two years of analysis, which was followed by extensive cleaning, removing of a 1973 layer of varnish, and restretching the canvas to address sagging.

“Having this landmark painting at the CMA is an extraordinary opportunity,” says Curator Catherine Walworth. “I get caught up in the exciting story of Pollock making Mural and what happened to the painting in the decades afterward. But I also want to encourage people to stop, sit down, and really enjoy looking at a painting for longer than perhaps they are used to doing.”

Through advanced technical imaging, conservators studied and treated the painting, learning how it was created. Visitors are in for a unique treat as scientific results join the mural to fill two entire galleries with detailed looks into Pollock and his techniques.

“Mural is an operatic mass of brushstrokes and flung paint on a field larger than the viewers themselves,” says Walworth. “Pollock was putting everything he had onto this canvas, moving back and forth in front of it and even flinging paint in a way that would foreshadow his paintings laid on the studio floor that were entirely made with the famous drip technique.”

Following the study and treatment, Mural embarked on a seven-city international tour with stops including the Royal Academy of Arts, London, Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, and the National Gallery, Washington. Now, before returning to Iowa, Mural makes two last stops, the Columbia Museum of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

“Jackson Pollock’s Mural is the Mona Lisa of modern art—it changed the course of painting in the United States. Why? You’ll have to come and see!” says Executive Director Della Watkins. “Expect a large, dynamic, and colorful visual experience, one that inspired the movement known as Abstract Expressionism, this country’s most recognizable contribution to the history of art. The CMA is proud to bring this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to the Midlands.”

Jackson Pollock: Mural is presented through the support of our sponsors and grantors. Presenting Sponsors: Suzan D. Boyd and Ed Sellers, Joyce and George Hill, and City of Forest Acres. Contributing Sponsors: Bank of America, Schneider Company, and Pollock Company. Friend Sponsors: David and Jane Kulbersh and Hotel Trundle. Lipscomb Sponsors: Marcia and Allen Montgomery.

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About the CMA
The Columbia Museum of Art is a charitable nonprofit organization dedicated to lifelong learning and community enrichment for all. Located in the heart of downtown Columbia, S.C., the CMA ranks among the leading art institutions in the country and is distinguished by its innovative exhibitions and creative educational programs. At the heart of the CMA and its programs is its collection, which encompasses 7,000 works and spans 5,000 years of art history. Established in 1950, the CMA now welcomes more than 150,000 visitors annually and is a catalyst for community creativity and education, engaging people of all ages and backgrounds. It is the recipient of a National Medal from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, a National Art Education Association award for its contributions to arts education, a National Park Foundation Award, and two Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Awards for the Arts for outstanding contributions to the arts in South Carolina. In order to serve even more audiences, the CMA is undergoing a transformation funded by a successful capital campaign. Though some sections of the building will be affected during some phases of the work, the CMA remains open throughout renovations. The project is expected to be complete in late 2018. To learn more, visit


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