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Detail of Jackson Pollock’s “One: Number 31” (1950) at MoMA (photograph by Divya Thakur, via Flickr)

The laws of physics were greater collaborators with Jackson Pollock than most painters. Leaning over unstretched canvas laid flat on the ground, the American artist experimented with the movement, speed, density, and height of paint in his drip technique. Recent research has explored how fluid dynamics in particular were an essential aspect of his Abstract Expressionist approach.

As Phys.org reported, researchers from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México in Mexico City led by mechanical engineering professor Roberto Zenit with undergraduate Bernardo Palacios attempted to reproduce his painting style. Zenit with his colleagues previously examined the work of muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros in 2012, a major influence on Pollock, to see how densities of different paint colors impacted the work (here’s their video explaining the reproduction of his technique). As Zenit told Phys.org: “In our lab we have the inability to say ‘no’ to an interesting fluid mechanics problem, and fluid mechanics can be used to understand painting, since it is essentially a flow problem.”

Detail of Jackson Pollock’s “Number 1A” (1948) at MoMA (photograph by Sergio Calleja, via Flickr) (click to enlarge)

The 2014 research continues this look at how the characteristics of the paint influence the work, which in turn can tell something about fluid dynamics in a broader way. In particular, the new study, which Zenit and members of the research team presented last month at the American Physical Society in San Francisco, centers on how the viscosity of the paint changes when stress is applied. Paint is a non-Newtonian fluid, meaning it’s a little elastic in its properties (think about the movement of blood versus the Newtonian water). So the movement of the wet paint and how it appears on the canvas is all about how it can resist flow, and Pollock with all his layers of warped lines caused by playing with just these properties is a perfect artist for studying fluid dynamics. As the researchers concluded: “We also found that the non-Newtonian properties of the paints are of great importance to create these patterns.”

Pollock isn’t the only artist to have gravity involved in his work, of course — here’s a TED-Ed video using Van Gogh’s “The Starry Night” to examine the basics of fluid dynamics by educator Natalya St. Clair with animator Avi Ofer. But he has long been a popular artist for scientists as his canvases are basically physics experiments. The artist wasn’t creating the work for its fluid dynamics, but the study reveals the incredible control behind what seems like chaos. In 2011, researchers with Boston College and Harvard including physicist Andrzej Herczynski, art historian Claude Cernuschi, and mathematician L. Mahadeva published a quantitative portrait in Physics Today on how fluid dynamics and Pollock’s play with the thickness of paint influenced his art through experimentation. As Herczynski told Wired upon the publication, the “degree that he lets physics take a role in the painting process, he is inviting physics to be a coauthor of his pieces.”

The Mexico City team is anticipating expanding their research to other artists. Below, you can watch Pollock in action through a video from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

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Allison Meier

Allison C. Meier is a former staff writer for Hyperallergic. Originally from Oklahoma, she has been covering visual culture and overlooked history for print...

30 replies on “The Physics of Pollock”

  1. Maybe the scientists should explain how Pollock’s pictures are the biggest con in the history of the world, well, second biggest, behind only that other con artist Picasso.

    1. Those scientists just want to understand those paintings from a physical point of view (so it doesn’t matter if they’re “good art” or not) and, in the meantime, there is always somebody out there willing to spend a minute of his life complaining about the “con artist” (somehing which isn’t even relevant to the topic of the article) that supposedly was Pollock. And, oh my, “the biggest con in the history of the world”. All I can say is: just no.

      1. Yes and that’s the point, in that they are making much ado about absolutely nothing.

        And Pollock IS the single biggest con in the history of the world,
        because the word con does mean to ‘convince.’

        And what the con is, is telling the world that Pollock is the pictorial
        equivalent of music in general, and Mozart in particular:

        “Pollock’s analogy was recounted by collector Ben Heller, who has written, ‘He was like Mozart and knew that, most particularly with a Black Enamel
        Painting, where anything ‘wrong’ was there for all to see.”
        Sotheby’s Auction Catalog

        Except Pollock’s drips have absolutely nothing to do with music in any way,
        shape or form.

        Because music is fundamental frequency modulations, and vectors and
        derivatives, and vector/derivative fields, and harnessing directed
        tensions, and producing an actual concordant polyphonically
        structured whole, of non-tangible form geometrical equations,
        effectually functioning as, while remaining subservient to, a
        hierarchically structured whole: symphony.
        And the visual equivalent of that, is a person’s developed capability to ‘see’ all of that, and more as well.

        Andjust like Leonardo da Vinci produced in his The Annunciation, as he
        explained:

        “The harmonic proportionalities are born of continuous and discrete
        quantities, which affects a composition that simultaneously conveys
        the proportionality harmony of which the parts of the whole are
        composed. The parts of the whole compose the proportional harmonies
        that are produced by divine proportions, as the whole can generate a
        proportional harmony in the time equivalent to a single glance.”

        And so THAT’S what the scientists should be examining more closely, not
        this literal biggest con in the history of the world.

        1. Mr mike, You are posting links to your own comments on another website. How about some more neutral party in support of your theories.

          1. Heck, I’ve got plenty of that, what part in particular would you like to know about, how about the function of musical syntax, and how people like Deryck Cooke have explained it, as such:

            “It is easy to justify the common application of (syntactical
            functions) to some of the greatest music ever written – the
            contrapuntal masterpieces of the old polyphonic composers…In these, the themes are sometimes scarcely more expressive than bricks or blocks of stone, and are used simply as raw material capable of being built up into larger-scale sound-constructions by means of interwoven lines, various sections being balanced one against another in size, until their combined mass makes possible a final climax, setting a seal on the whole like a tower or dome. Moreover, the interwoven lines actually ‘support’ one another in a quasi-mathematical system of stresses and strains…What is more, the experience provided by this kind of music is definitely akin to that provided by architecture – the enjoyment of the beauty of pure form. What attracts us is not so much the thematic material as the satisfying way in which it is woven together; not so much, say, the
            fugue-subject, as the masterly working-out of it in stretto, to
            produce a sonorous climax.” The Language Of Music – Deryck Cooke
            So what else would you like to see substantiated?

          2. Thanks Mike, but large parts of this quote could just as easily be applied to a Pollock painting :

            “raw material capable of being built up into larger-scale sound-constructions by means of interwoven lines, various sections being balanced one against another in size, until their combined mass makes possible a final climax, setting a seal on the whole like a tower or dome. Moreover, the interwoven lines actually ‘support’ one another in a quasi-mathematical system of stresses and strains…What is more, the experience provided by this kind of music is definitely akin to that provided by architecture – the enjoyment of the beauty of pure form. What attracts us is not so much the thematic material as the satisfying way in which it is woven together; not so much, say, the
            fugue-subject, as the masterly working-out of it”

            If you remove the references to sound and music could this not be a description of Pollock ?

          3. Well no, because it’s an actual function, functions, that does not, and do not, exist withing any ‘Pollock,’ and/or any absolutely abstract picture.

            And it all begins with a person’s developed capability to ‘see’ the notes or fundamental frequency modulations that all of music is comprised of, and which actually is a developed capability that humans can experience.

            So the simplest analogy, is the ‘sidewalk’ analogy. Being in that, if
            you took a photograph of a sidewalk, such as this (click on the
            sidewalk on the left):

            http://truenorthventures.com/property-maintenance/services/concrete-work/

            Okso if you were to take a ruler and measure the apparent distance
            between the section of sidewalk that is immediately on the ground –
            at the ‘base’ of the photo, you could see that that section would
            appear to be a little wider than the next, and so on up to the
            horizon line.

            Ok so you also know if you were to take a fundamental frequency
            modulation – and/or a note, and analyze it, you would see that the
            ‘low’ fundamental frequency modulations have a ‘wide’ gap between the peaks of the crest of their waves, and the ‘high’ fundamental frequency modulations have a ‘narrow’ distance between the peaks of the crest of their waves.

            So this is ‘what’ someone becomes capable of doing when they begin todevelop the ability to experience the cognitive affect of music – plus the visual equivalent, and that is, well, you ‘see’ that
            relevant function – and/or you ‘see’ the absolute function, and/or
            you see the relevant variable and/or ‘line segment’ that is the
            function.

            Or in simple terms, you ‘see’ the equivalent of ‘seeing’ the individual
            ‘section’ of sidewalk that corresponds to the note/fundamental
            frequency modulation.

            And so ‘seeing’ that completed function, becomes this:

            “…raw material capable of being built up into larger-scale
            sound-constructions by means of interwoven lines.”

            LITERALLY.

            And seeing that completed function also – simultaneously, effects the applicable ‘vector function, which is also part of the real
            ‘structure.

            Which is this (and something that no one else has explained). Ok so in order to understand this function, you have to know that human beings can only ‘focus’ upon 1 single 2 degree point while at any one point in space/time, such as this point: A, on this page. Ok but while we remain focused upon that 1 single 2 degree point – upon this page, we can also – and simultaneously, ‘see’ all of the other ‘points’ located upon this page, such as this: B. So that means that while we are focused upon the first point, of: A, all of the remaining images’ of all the other ‘points’ upon this page, and such as: B – C – D, must have their non tangible form images ‘projected’ ‘from’ their point/position – on this page, and ‘to’ the single point that we are focused upon, which is this: A.

            Ok so when we begin to experience the actual function, that is also us ‘seeing’ the VERY REAL ‘projected’ lies of the completed line
            segments – and/or notes and/or fundamental frequency modulations, and just like if you were to look at that photograph of the sidewalk – and focus upon the horizon line, and/or a single point located ‘at’ the horizon line, the very real non tangible form images of the ‘sections’ of sidewalk, would have their vary real non tangible form images projected ‘from’ the point/position of their actual point/position, and ‘to’ the single point that you are focused upon, at the horizon line.

            And again which is the beginning of this:

            “…raw material capable of being built up into larger-scale
            sound-constructions by means of interwoven lines.”

            And, of course, none of which exists ‘within’ any ‘Pollock,’ and/or any absolutely abstract picture either.

          4. Using the word “literally” means in this case you are unable to not understand anything without literal knowledge. Pollock being the “visual equivalent of music” – that’s just a metaphor you’re trying to take literally… and if you fail to find a literal sense, there goes the “con” accusation.

          5. Nope, as I’ve explained below they mean it in it’s “literal:” LITERAL,
            sense, that there can exist such a thing as a “visual equivalent of music,” such as this:

            “Art; A Scientist in His Attic Ponders, What Does Music Look Like: FOR centuries, composers have been trying to find a visual equivalent to music, to find a way to paint sound or to play colors. The list of those who have tried includes Scriabin, Rimsky- Korsakov, Tchaikovsky, Messiaen and Robert Emmett Mueller of Roosevelt…Artist, electrical engineer, inventor, author, violinist, puppet maker, retired Bell Labs scientist, husband, father and wizard, Mr. Mueller, 75, has been creating art and dreaming up inventions in the Oz-like precincts of his attic in Roosevelt for decades. His creations are wildly varied…’I was hunting for a visual equivalent to a single tone,’ Mr. Mueller said. ‘I thought, what if one hit something and started a band of color moving and then it disappeared and trailed off as a tone does in the ear?’…” The New York Times – Margo Nash – February 13, 2000

            And, if you’d like I could provide you with several dozen more references also stating the fact.

      1. Well I ascribe to the Leonardo da Vinci school of thought, in regards to
        that:

        “Anyone who argues on the basis of authority exploits not his insight but his
        memory. Good writing is born of good and natural understanding, and
        since the cause is to be praised rather than the effect, you should
        praise good and natural understanding, without bookish learning,
        rather than bookish learning without understanding…”

        And if you would like to see an explanation of the concepts, of the actual visual equivalent of music – in addition to the explanation of the cognitive function of music, you can see an introduction here, in the opening post:

        http://www.sciencechatforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=54&t=19902

        And then a further explanation, here, midway down the page in a post
        addressed to ‘NoAngst:’

        http://www.sciencechatforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=54&t=19902&start=60

        1. I ascribe to the Isaac Asimov school of thought:

          “Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.’”

          1. Anti-intellectualism, eh? Well you must be a practitioner, you know, an ‘artist,’ a contemporary master of rhetoric.

          2. I was a photorealist painter in a Formalist school during the height of Clement Greenberg’s “reign”. As a result I have an appreciation for the formal elements of art; line, shape, form, tone, texture, pattern, colour, and composition, which I find to be sorely lacking in much of the art produced today. Pollock’s work is very strong formally, but lacks content (as per Greenberg’s dictate). Frankly, I now find photorealism to be a pointless exercise in technical virtuosity, there is no surprise for the artist in the creation of the work, nor for the viewer. In other words, It would seem that both form and content are necessary. I do happen to like Pollock’s work, it must be seen “in the flesh” as should ALL art before it can be spoken about with any “authority”.

          3. But Pollock is simple a direct contradiction to our understanding of
            basic pictorial cognition, and, therefore, only factually a total
            scam.

            Ok so we know the way basic pictorial cognition works, right?
            Of course. So we know that the way all pictures works, is a person
            produces a picture of a ball, and they’ve communicated:“Ball.” A
            person produces a picture of a person, and they’ve communicated:“Person.” A person produces a picture of a person
            smiling, and they’ve communicated:“Happiness.” A person produces a picture of a person frowning, and they’ve communicated:“Sadness.”

            And that’s basically the way that pictorial cognition functions.

            Now of course there also exists a higher level of pictorial cognition
            that can be pictorially communicated, and that is through the
            ‘functions’ of art, and such as chiaroscuro and sfumato, and shading and contouring, and the effecting of pictorial depth, and composition, and proportions, and positioning, and orientation, and balance, and harmony, and symmetry, and geometry, and negative space, and positive space, and lines, and rhythm, and repetition, and patterns, and tensions – etc, leading – etc, and perspective, and which – the application of these ‘functions’ in visual art, is what first enabled art to acquire the title of art, as a matter of historical fact.

            Except, of course, none of any of those things exist within any Pollock, and, according to our factual understanding of pictorial cognition, this is the only ‘thing’ that any ‘Pollock’ can ever communicate:

            As a matter of scientific fact.
            So we can also know, for a scientific fact, that Pollock’s entire existence is simply part of the single biggest con in the history of the world.

          4. Pictorial cognition? Most of the “functions” of art you speak of (Chiaroscuro and Sfumato, etc.) were designed to create a facsimile or representation of reality, somewhat passé in the art world of the last 100 years. Photography swept away the relevance of these techniques, by exhibiting far greater verisimilitude with far less effort. This suggests that you are perhaps grounded in the earlier philosophies of the 15th to 19th Centuries, but embrace neither Modernism nor Post-Modernism. Pollock’s work is considered to have put the final nail in the coffin of “easel painting”, a term that is now used as a less-than-subtle put down of those who rely on the aforementioned pictorial conventions.

            BTW, how your statement about Pollock constitutes “fact” scientific or otherwise and is not merely your opinion escapes me. What “single biggest con in the history of the world” are you referring to? I can only speculate that you perhaps elude to Modernism.

            If you aren’t a member already this site might interest you… http://www.artrenewal.org

          5. Nope you’re just making things up, or simply speaking artspeak.

            Because that is the actual con, as a mater of fact.

            Ok so this is what happened, all through most of history art served a primary function, it was the equivalent of our movies and television, and it enabled worldly institutions the opportunity to teach their lessons to the masses. The Catholic Church, primarily, payed artists to paint allegorical scenes, and the ‘unlearned’ masses saw the scenes and became informed, and that was the primary function of artists, and art, all through history.

            Also there was no such thing as art as we know it today, or artists as we know them today, they were artisans, or craftsmen, and held a low position in society. Then, in 1480, Leonardo da Vinci produced a literal visual musical equivalent, and transformed art into a fine art, as a matter of fact:

            “…Renaissance painters and sculptors were viewed merely as skilled artisans (interior decorators). No wonder Leonardo da Vinci went to such efforts to elevate the status of artists (and by implication art itself) onto a more intellectual plane.” Definition Of Art – Encyclopedia Of Art

            So art then became a fine art, and artisans became fine art artists.

            Now except without the mathematical structure – that defines the music, well then art reverted back to the equivalent of our movies and television.

            Then, at the beginning of the 20th century, actual movies were
            invented, so the world didn’t need art to serve that function
            anymore.

            So some ‘artists,’ the ones who couldn’t understand the functions –
            and/or the music, started thinking up gimmicks to generate publicity
            for art, again for the ones who weren’t capable of understanding the
            functions.

            And one of those gimmicks was cubism, and which was introduced to the world at the 1913 Armory Show, and, when the world was introduced to cubism, well, the world laughed at it:

            “As Avant-Garde as the Rest of Them: An Introduction to the 1913 Armory Show: Even before the Armory Show opened, organizers and more than a few journalists described the exhibition as an invasion of modern art on America. In the New York Times
            and Sun, headlines like ‘It Will Throw a Bomb Into Our Art World and a Good Many Leaders Will be Hit’ – Accusations of quackery, insanity, immorality, and anarchy were typical responses…” The New York Times

            And then, after the show, some opportunist con artists thought up a
            scheme to enable the single greatest con in the history of the world,
            and those, primary, con artists, were Gertrude Stein, Picasso, and
            Duchamp, and also Kandinsky.

            And the way the primary con worked, was that Stein – primarily, told the world that art could have an implied value, which was greater than its intrinsic value, and the (supposed) implied value was, they told the world, that art could be a “pictorial representation of genius,” and, in regards to cubism, well they told the world that a
            cubist picture was the “pictorial representation of the fourth
            dimension,” and the “pictorial representation of Einstein’s
            Relativity,” and the “pictorial representation of Non Euclidean
            geometry,” all rolled up in one, and – again, they told the world
            that the “visual equivalent of music, is color.”

            And then they – all of the con-artists, started paying people to just
            make a bunch of things up in an attempt to actual define all of those
            things as fact, and Stein started her whole “art can have an implied value” crusade, and while telling the world that cubism was the “pictorial representation of genius,” as was – supposedly, her kooky writing, and Duchamp, especially, wrote theses trying to
            explain cubism as those things, such as this:

            “Marcel Duchamp and the New Geometries: Duchamp’s
            intellect is laid bare in the sections of l’infinitf
            on ‘Perspective’ and ‘The Continuum.’ In these notes Duchamp was
            attempting to work out the mechanics of portraying the fourth
            dimension…” Marcel Duchamp and the New Geometries

            Except, that’s nothing but a bunch of bald faced lies.

            Because, cubism has absolutely nothing to do with the fourth dimension, and/or Einstein’s theory of Relativity, and/or Non Euclidean geometry, and/or genius, and/or even elementary intelligence, and cubism is nothing more than Picasso taking part in the single biggest con in the history of the world, and producing nothing more than pictures of ridiculously asinine 2 dimensional fish people, or people that look like flounders – with 2 eyes on one side of their face.

            And Pollock, is just a whole nother level of asinine stupidity, and is
            nothing more than the actual single stupidest thing in the history of
            the world, with some doofus – Pollock, drizzling paint on the
            floor, and then conning Peggy Guggenheim into buying his:”Look at
            me, I’m Mozart,” schtick.

            And those are the scientific facts.
            (Ps, Thanks for the link, and, you were right, I was already familiar with it.)

          6. Well, I don’t agree, except of course with the fact that photography, movies and television have usurped the role of pictorial representation. You may not like the direction that art has taken for the last 100 years, but you are living in the past. I can appreciate the work of the Old Masters in an historical context, but don’t see any relevance to working that way now. As a 40 year practitioner with a Master’s Degree, and having taught College and University level courses for 20 years, I think I do speak with some authority. Here is an example of my drawing from 28 years ago. I stopped because, frankly it got boring for me…

          7. Yeah I’ve spoken to countless people with Masters degrees, many teachers, professors, and academics, including, Rudolf Arnheim:

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rudolf_Arnheim

            And Martin Kemp:

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Kemp_(art_historian)

            So I’ve heard it all.

            Ok so let me reiterate my concern, beings this is an article about
            Jackson Pollock, and tell you what my main concern actually is,
            again, and how the actual con of Pollock exists.

            So well my concern is that I have produced the literal pictorial
            equivalent of music, and, actually, the pictorial equivalent of
            Mozart, when Mozart said this:

            “In the night when I cannot sleep, thoughts crowd into my mind as easily as you could wish. Whence and how do they come? I do not know and I have nothing to do with it. Those which please me I keep in my head and hum them…Once I have my theme, another melody comes, linking itself with the first one, in accordance with the composition as a whole: the counterpoint, the part of each instrument and all the melodic fragments at last produce the complete work. Then my soul is on fire with inspiration…It does not come to me successively – but in its entirety, so that my mind seizes it as a glance of my eye a beautiful picture or a handsome youth…”

            And so, that is how I actually learned about the con. Because, after I produced the visual musical equivalents, I went out to seek all of
            the people who were saying that they TOO were interested in the
            pictorial equivalent of music, and people like Jonathan Jones of the
            Guardian.

            So, do you know who Jonathan Jones is? Well he is the In House critic for The Guardian (newspaper), and who said this about Pollock, and his supposed understanding of Pollock and how he believes that color is the pictorial equivalent of music:

            “Jackson Pollock, rock’n’roll master – The freedom and harmony of his work make everything possible and demand comparison to the very greatest art: Jackson Pollock is the artist who drove me to write about art – Note I do not say ‘so beautiful to me’ – So let me be clear. I am not saying I ‘like’ Pollock. I am saying that I believe Jackson Pollock exemplifies some of the highest qualities of the greatest art. His achievement is absolute, self-evident, like the genius of Beethoven…” Jonathan Jones

            And so, of course, I would have, do have, no problem with people like Pollock wanting to fling some paint around, and call themselves an artist, because, intrinsically, it doesn’t cause much harm, but the
            problem arises when the people who claim to be producing the highest form of art, or the pictorial equivalent of Beethoven, and the people who are supposed to be explaining these concepts to the world, all lie, and don’t enable the world to learn that there does exist such a thing, and, personally, deny me the right to introduce the world to the actual, literal, pictorial equivalent of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

            So that is my concern

            Also, the reason that you became bored, is, well, because you (the
            rhetorical you) have to start concentrating more on the functions.

            Because the functions actually do function as directly opposed to the stimulus, or simply concentrating of the ‘things’ being portrayed in pictures.

            So, anyway, again I don’t know if you are familiar with musical syntax, and how it functions, but the way it functions, is when you begin to experience it, it – a person’s understanding and ability to be affected by it, continues to grow, and grow, as a person develops the capabilities, but – simultaneously, if all a person can ‘see’ is the tangible form mass ‘in’ – or ‘of,’ the ‘picture,’ well then the viewer will only become bored with the sight of the stimulus, and, then, become dependent upon seeing a novel stimulus, to excite them such as this:

            “What’s New? Are you easily bored – Those are the kinds of questions used to measure novelty- As researchers analyzed its genetic roots and relations to the brain’s dopamine system, they linked this trait with problems like attention deficit disorder…”
            The New York Times – John Tierney – Tuesday Feb. 14, 2012

            And, actually, that’s the exact reason that the con was enabled to ever occur, because of dopamine, and serotonin, and endorphins, and mankind’s ability to “confuse the map with the territory.”

            (Ps, I like your picture, and would be interested in seeing more if you have any.)

          8. No, I grew bored because I had nothing left to say in that way, I don’t want to draw satyr and cherubs, and there is nothing more boring then endless repeating yourself.

            This article shows the evolution from artisan to artistic genius to creative professional quite succinctly, and just exactly why your way of thinking has not kept up with the evolution of art or artists. It would seem that the Americanization of art is the root cause of your distaste in current art movements. Frankly, mine as well. (Jeff Koons and Damian Hirst as examples)

            http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/01/the-death-of-the-artist-and-the-birth-of-the-creative-entrepreneur/383497/?single_page=true

          9. Actually there’s no such thing, as the “genius” that you are talking
            about.
            Well actually there is such a thing, as genius in art, but it isn’t what you are talking about, what you are talking about is simply the definition of the scam, and which is the sweetest scam in the history of the world as well, or “modern art.”

            Ok so let me explain this as succinctly as possible, and in a way that
            every person on the face of this earth can understand, even though
            some people may not want to acknowledge the fact.

            Ok so the entire world understands that the definition of everything,
            everything that we know exists, is the simply “syntax,” or this:

            “Musical syntax: Syntax can defined as a set of principles governing the combination of discrete structural elements: Such as words or musical tones, into sequences. Linguistic and musical sequences are not created by the haphazard juxtaposition of basic elements. Instead, combinatorial principles operate at multiple levels – Together with other types of information, syntactic knowledge allows the mind to accomplish a remarkable transformation of the inputs: a linear
            sequence of elements is perceived in terms of hierarchical
            relations…” Language, Music, Syntax And The Brain – Nature
            Neuroscience

            Ok so in other words everything that human beings ‘construct’ they
            construct while following the rules of syntactical structure. For
            instance, if I simply wrote some words, and such as: ball – have –
            I – the – may, you, no one, would call me an “author” simply
            because I wrote those words down on a page. Similarly, If I sat down
            in front of a piano and began to pound on the keys randomly, you, no
            one, would call me a “musician” simply because I was randomly
            pounding on those keys. Similarly, if I placed some building
            materials, some 2 x 4’s, some plywood, some sheet rock, in a pile on
            your lawn, you, no one, would call me a “carpenter” simply
            because I placed those materials on your lawn.

            Ok so the ‘thing’ that would define all of those functions, the: author
            – musician – carpenter, is the taking of the universal raw materials, and then applying syntax – and/or syntactical structure, to ‘transform’ the universal raw materials into a ‘structure.’

            Ok so that too is the definition of ‘Art,’ art with a capital A, and it
            also happens to be a historical fact.

            Because, ‘what’ was/is ‘in every picture that has ever been made in the history of the world, and prior to the 20th century, well that would be ‘things,’ and such as: people – trees – buildings – etc, and, well, all through history that was what all artisans: – ‘art’ – ‘i’ – ‘sans,’ produced, pictures with those ‘things’ in them, but there was never any ‘structure,’ in those pictures.

            But then the Renaissance artisans began to introduce the functions, and the ‘structure,’ into art, and then, in 1480, Leonardo da Vinci took
            it to a mathematical certainty, and transformed the raw materials, of
            some: people – trees – buildings, into a syntactical whole, and
            art became a fine art, and as a matter of historical fact, as well:

            “…Renaissance painters and sculptors were viewed merely as skilled artisans (interior decorators). No wonder Leonardo da Vinci went to such efforts to elevate the status of artists (and by implication art
            itself) onto a more intellectual plane.” Definition Of Art – Encyclopedia Of Art

            But again and of course, it’s not simply because Leonardo did it, and/or because someone, anyone, says so, it’s simply because that is the universal fact.

            Which, again, is our acknowledgment of the function of syntax, and our universal understanding of the fact that without it – syntax,
            nothing can exist.

            And acknowledging that factual understanding, also enables us to
            understand how the con was enacted, the greatest single con in the
            history of the world, and/or the existence of contemporary art, and
            while climaxing with the likes of Pollock.

            But also of course, the same understanding enable us to know, for a fact, that no one involved in modern, or contemporary, art, will ever
            acknowledge the facts.

            Because they are the worlds best con artists, and if you try to point out the facts to them, they will simply behave like this:

            “Definitions of a con artist: A swindler who exploits the confidence of his victim; A person who defrauds or swindles others after first gaining their trust; A person adept at lying, cajolery, or glib self-serving talk; They are experts at gaining the confidence of others; They have creative imagination and discernment and are extremely smart; They are charming and have persuasive powers; They are smooth operators, shrewd intimidators, manipulators and actors par excellence; They thrive on the simple fact that people tend to believe only what they want to believe; They live in self-denial and renouncement; When you confront them by pointing out their lies and dishonest deeds, they will retreat and pretend it is beyond their dignity to be in a state of defence. They will rather classify you as ‘neurotic’, ‘paranoid’…”

            And they will simply deny the facts, the facts of syntax, and/or syntactical structure.

          10. Your definition of the “Con Artist” fits the personality traits of the psychopath, also ironically the personality best suited to rise to the top in a hierarchical structure. Da Vinci creating the concept of “Artistic Genius” to elevate the status of the artist in society during the Renaissance. “Creative Professional with Credentials” is what suits the present day corporate world. The corporatocracy that has arisen since the 16th Century has turned everything into a commodity, including art. The only thing that matters is celebrity and assessing monetary value depends on it, everything else is too subjective. What is considered the most famous, most valuable, and most overrated artwork of all time? Mona Lisa. Now THAT is a con job.

          11. Yes my description of a con artist does fit the description of a
            psychopath, indeed.

            But, guess what? Well it’s a fact that the definition of (almost) all modern art, post 20th century, is actually by definition “psychopathic,” and again as a matter of fact.

            And guess what also? Well it’s the fact that they, all of the con artists, actually admit it, just like this:

            “Modernism celebrated innovation and originality. Baudelaire had conceived of modernism as a radical break from the historic traditions that preceded it. He saw it as an era characterized by a quest for novelty; he emphasized the artist’s ‘burning desire to create a personal form of originality.’ A hundred years after Baudelaire, American critic Harold Rosenberg was still espousing what he called ‘the tradition of the new.’..as modernism progressed, painting became more reduced, more abstract, and more distant from lived experience. In the twentieth century, American critic Clement Greenberg argued painting should be reduced to its prime characteristic: its essential flatness…” High Modernism: The Avant-Garde in the Early 20th Century

            You see they even actually admit that modern art is about “breaking away from tradition,” or about “breaking the rules,” and also about removing any references to “lived experiences” from within it, and creating “pure abstractions,” and also, and most importantly, about reducing the art to only 2 dimensions, and which is the literal definition of psychopathic, or being only capable to ‘seeing’ 2 dimensionally, and as the experts explain:

            “The psychopath is like an infant, absorbed in his own needs, vehemently demanding satiation. Psychopaths are very good at giving their undivided attention to things that interest them most and ignoring other things. Some clinicians have likened this process to a narrow-beam search-light that focuses on only one thing (at a single point in) time…Their ‘Mental Packages’ are not only small but
            two-dimensional, devoid of emotional meaning…” Dr. Robert Hare

            And also as the experts explain, all of their “abstract” art is also psychopathic, or devoid of any real emotions:

            “Psychopaths seem to suffer a kind of emotional poverty that limits the range and depth of their emotions. Careful observers are left with the impression that they are play-acting and that little is going on below the surface. Sometimes they claim to experience strong emotions but are unable to describe the subtleties of various affective states. For example, they equate love with sexual arousal, sadness with frustration and anger with irritability. In some ways they are like the emotionless androids depicted in science fiction, unable to imagine what real humans experience…” Dr. Robert Hare

            And also as the experts explain, they were all told only to “break the
            rules,” like a true psychopath:

            “The psychopath is a rebel, a religious disobeyer of prevailing codes and standards … a rebel without a cause, an agitator without a slogan, a revolutionary without a program; in other words, his rebelliousness is aimed to achieve goals satisfactory to him alone; he is incapable of exertions for the sake of others. All his efforts, under no matter what guise, represent investments designed to satisfy his immediate wishes and desires…” Dr. Robert Hare

            And of course also, all psychopaths have a sense of entitlement:

            “Psychopaths tend to operate with a grandiose demeanor, an attitude of entitlement. They are daring, unconventional people who begin by playing by their own rules early in life…Not only do they covet power, but they gain special pleasure in usurping and taking from others…” Dr. Robert Hare

            And all, of course, perfectly defines all of the 20th century
            art oeuvre, and especially the existence of Jackson Pollock, and too as they – all psychopaths, do sincerely believe their lies:

            “Psychopaths often come across as arrogant, shameless braggarts – self-assured, opinionated, domineering, and cocky. They love to have power and control over others and seem unable to believe that people have valid opinions different from theirs. They appear charismatic or ‘electrifying’ to some people…” Dr. Robert Hare

            And again which perfectly defines (almost) all of the catalog of 20th
            century art, and, let’s not forget, as they do begin to effect their con they will only continue to deny the reality o fit all, and try to ‘turn the tables’ on anyone that tries to explain the reality to them:

            “Psychopaths are arrogant, manipulative, cynical, exhibitionistic, sensation-seeking, Machiavellian, vindictive, and out for their own gain. With respect to their patterns of social exchange, they attribute love and status to themselves, seeing themselves as highly worthy and important, but prescribe neither love nor status to others, seeing them as unworthy and insignificant. Psychopaths have a narcissistic and grossly inflated view of their self-worth and importance, a truly astounding egocentricity and sense of entitlement, and see themselves as the center of the universe, as superior beings who are justified in living according to their own rules…This is how psychopaths operate. They will deny reality until their victims have a nervous breakdown. Often, the psychopath will turn on the victim and claim that the victim suffers from ‘delusions’ and is not mentally stable…”

            And so, of course, if we try to explain to a psychopath exactly why a Jackson Pollock is no more than the literal definition of the personification of psychopathic stimulus, and its existence also personifies the total psychopathic existence of the contemporary art world , they will remain only capable of ignoring all of those facts, and attempt to turn the tables on the person explaining the facts to them, of course.

            Now also of course, the reason that the Mona Lisa IS the “Mona Lisa,” is because of the fact – the scientific fact, that the Mona Lisa represents the literally defined polar opposite of everything that I
            just defined above.

            So, would you like me to explain how and why?

          12. In our post-modern world everything is “deconstructed” and “reframed”, the Mona Lisa may indeed have been the polar opposite of what you defined, but like everything else it has been “appropriated” and “repurposed”. It can no longer be seen in its original context, because the 15th Century mentality no longer exists. This is not just happening in Art, but in all areas of society. Anyone I have talked to who has been to the Louvre is disappointed by the Mona Lisa. It so small they say, its behind glass, the crowds make it impossible to contemplate the piece. Everyone has their smartphones out taking pictures and selfies. You can explain how and why if you wish, but frankly, what I’m saying is there is no going back…

          13. Yeah you’re talking about context, I’m talking about physics, biophysics, and neuroscience, and how humans are capable of functioning in our uniquely human way.

            Because again we do know exactly how pictorial cognition works, as a matter of fact. And the way it works, is a person draws a picture of a ball, and they’ve communicated:”ball.” A person draws a picture of a person, and they’ve communicated: “person.” A person draws a picture of a person frowning, and they’ve communicated:”sadness.” A person draws a picture of a person smiling, and they’ve communicated: “happiness.”

            And that’s just the way basic pictorial cognition works.

            But there does exist such a thing as ‘higher’ pictorial cognition, and a person’s ability to experience those universal higher cognitive functions. And those higher cognitive functions, are, indeed, the function of ‘functions,’ and/or spatial relations: within 4 dimensional space/time.

            In addition, we do know that that – spatial relations, are the hardest
            ‘things’ for children to begin to learn, such as this:

            “…What Dr. Spelke is really doing (is) what Descartes, Kant and Locke tried to do. She is trying to identify the bedrock categories of human knowledge. She is asking, ‘What is number, space, agency, and how does knowledge in each category develop from its minimal state… Babies are born Euclideans. Infants and toddlers use geometric clues to orient themselves in three-dimensional space, navigate through rooms and locate hidden treasures. Is the room square or rectangular…At the same time, the Spelke lab discovered, young children are quite bad at using landmarks or décor to find their way. Not until age 5 or 6 do they begin augmenting search strategies with cues like ‘She hid my toy in a corner whose left wall is red rather than white.”

            Ok so too we know that those 4 dimensional spatial relations exist
            universally, literally, and again which represent the universal higher cognitive functions that can be harnessed, and reapplied, in 2 dimensional art.

            Ok so let’s take a look at some of those universal functions, within
            this picture of a sidewalk (third picture down):

            http://kiransarkar.com/sidewalk

            So when we look at that picture of reality, we can plainly see that the section of sidewalk that we would be standing on, immediately in front of us on the ground, appears to be a little wider than the next section, and then so on up to the horizon line.

            And which means the universal function – that an artist can harness and the reapply, is that the fundamental frequency ‘rises’ as the
            simultaneously relative – to and from the observer, increases, and
            again which is a universal function.

            So we can also understand that is an artist were to harness that function, they could cause a ‘universal affect’ within every viewer that would see the picture – AND become capable of cognizing the
            universal function.

            Ok so let’s look at The Mona Lisa:

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Mona_Lisa.jpg

            Ok so when we now look at The Mona Lisa, while taking into our consideration of our understanding of accessing the universal function of the rising fundamental frequency modulations, we can see that that is exactly what Leonardo did, he harnessed the universal function of the rising fundamental frequencies, and then reapplied it in his ‘composition’ of The Mona Lisa.

            Ok so in other words: look at the ‘background’ of The Mona Lisa, and you will see that Leonardo produce a representation of that universal gradient in the background, with the gradient rising up – and out, through 3 dimensional space, in the left hand perimeter, and then through Mona Lisa’s eyes, and then back down again in the right hand perimeter, and when a viewer cognizes that ‘function,’ it enables them to experience this affect:

            “Levels of pitch structure, as of other element-structures, can perhaps usefully be conceived as analogically of relative ‘distance’: the most fundamental as ‘background’ in an imagined three-dimensional field, the most immediate as ‘foreground,’ in ‘focus’ as one regards the structure at close range. The metaphoric conceit of relative focus is helpful in engendering the image of structural ‘depth’ in this sense, and in conceiving of various ‘middlegrounds’ coming into increasingly sharp exposure as details ‘blur,’ and as increasingly comprehensive events are the objects of attention.” Structural Functions In Music – Wallace Berry

            And that’s why The Mona Lisa is The “Mona Lisa,” and/or the single
            most powerful picture (on an elementary level) in the world.

          14. Pollock never said to Peggy Guggenheim: “Look at me, I’m Mozart”. In what source did you even read that? “Conning” Peggy Guggenheim? Oh, so you really really don’t think Peggy Guggenheim (or anyone else for that matter, rich or not) couldn’t have possibly just like Pollock’s paintings?

            Anyway, I have never read in any of your comments anything that I agree with.

          15. Sure Pollock said that, see:

            “Movingly, Pollock once compared the necessary precision of his painting to the execution of compositions by two of history’s most beloved composers. In Pollock’s mind, an error made in a sonata by Brahms could conceivably go unnoticed, but an error in a work performed by Mozart would unquestionably disrupt the flow and beauty of the piece. Pollock’s analogy was recounted by collector Ben Heller, who has written, ‘He was like Mozart and knew that, most particularly with a Black Enamel Painting, where anything ‘wrong’ was there for all to see.” Sotheby’s Auction Catalog

            Actually they all say it, see:

            “William Rubin: ‘Actually, Pollock’s work was incredibly, highly controlled. And it took him years to perfect the technique’…’People might say:’Anyone can pour paint,’ well that might be true. But, anyone can go up to a piano and push the note ‘c,’ and your ‘c’ will be as good as Rubinstein’s or Horowitz’s. And by the same token, if you spill a little paint, that’s going to be as good as Pollock’s for just that little spill. What makes Horowitz, or Rubinstein is the succession of accents, and the control and interrelations of these accents as they come one after another. That is what we call the ‘touch’ of the pianist. But the (single) ‘tone’ is the same for you and for Pollock’…”

            Or if not specifically Mozart, or Rubinstein, or Horowitz, well then it’s “Beethoven,” like this:

            “Jackson Pollock, rock’n’roll master – The freedom and harmony of his work make everything possible and demand comparison to the very greatest art: Jackson Pollock is the artist who drove me to write about art. The other day I was looking at his painting Summertime in Tate Modern, and the old feeling kicked in once again – the joy and liberation, and sense of harmony hidden deep inside chaos, that make his works so beautiful…Note I do not say ‘so beautiful to me’. Commenters have occasionally accused me of just exploring my own enthusiasms or distastes in a subjective and irrational way. That would indeed be a weak form of criticism. So let me be clear. I am not saying I ‘like’ Pollock. I am saying that I believe Jackson Pollock exemplifies some of the highest qualities of the greatest art. His achievement is absolute, self-evident, like the genius of Beethoven…” Jonathan Jones

            They all say it, that “color is the pictorial equivalent of music,”
            because it all began with Kandinsky, at the beginning of the 20th
            century:

            “The man who heard his paintbox hiss: Russian-born artist Wassily Kandinsky is widely credited with making the world’s first truly abstract paintings, but his artistic ambition went even further. He wanted to evoke sound through sight and create the painterly equivalent of a symphony that would stimulate not just the eyes but the ears as well – Kandinsky – not only removed all recognisable subjects and objects from Western art around 1911, but he (also) achieved a new pictorial form of music.

            The idea that music is linked to visual art goes back to ancient Greece, when Plato first talked of tone and harmony in relation to art. The spectrum of colours, like the language of musical notation, has long been arranged in stepped scales, so it is still unclear whether or not Beethoven, who called B minor the black key and D major the orange key, or Schubert, who saw E minor as ‘a maiden robed in white with a rose-red bow on her chest,’ were real synaesthetes.

            There is still debate whether Kandinsky was himself a natural synaesthete, or merely experimenting with this confusion of senses in combination with the colour theories of Goethe, Schopenhauer and Rudolf Steiner, in order to further his vision for a new abstract art.

            Kandinsky discovered his synaesthesia at a performance of Wagner’s opera Lohengrin in Moscow: ‘I saw all my colours in spirit, before my eyes. Wild, almost crazy lines were sketched in front of me.’ In 1911, after studying and settling in Germany, he was similarly moved by a Schoenberg concert and finished painting Impression III (Konzert) two days later. The abstract artist and the atonal composer became friends, and Kandinsky even exhibited Schoenberg’s paintings in the first Blue Rider exhibition in Munich in the same year..” Ossian Ward

            And as far as Peggy Guggenheim is concerned, you’re kidding, right?

            Because you mean THIS Peggy Guggenheim:

            “Peggy Guggenheim had two great passions: art and men. Throughout her lifetime, she collected plenty of both. A bohemian wild child who was left with a sizable inheritance when her father went down with the Titanic, Guggenheim spent the decades between the World Wars cavorting around Europe, buying, according to her own estimation, a painting a day and having a string of love affairs with the likes of Marcel Duchamp, Samuel Beckett and Max Ernst. ‘I was, without a doubt, completely irresponsible,’ she told W in 1979. ‘I lived for the minute and for the partner I was with. Often I dressed like a slut, and many people obviously thought I was one…’”

            Yeah because she’s a real, true intellectual, with only noble intentions, right???

            Also, I don’t believe that you don’t agree with anything I’ve ever said
            (sarcasm).

  2. The author is a bit ambiguous in her description of non-Newtonian fluids. Non-Newtonian fluids can be pseudoplastic (thinning under shear forces) or dilatant (thickening under shear forces).

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