The exhibition Pollock e gli Irascibili – La Scuola di New York (Pollock and The Irascibles – The New York School) in the Palazzo Reale displays more than 60 paintings from the collection of the Whitney Museum in New York. It includes work by Jackson Pollock but also by other members of The Irascibles, like Mark Rothko and Willem de Kooning.
Highlight of the exhibition is Pollock’s Number 27 made in 1950, perhaps his most famous work and rarely seen outside the Whitney Museum. It is an example of an action painting, made not with a brush but by dripping paint directly from the can onto the canvas lying on the floor. The painting includes the colours black, white, yellow, olive green, grey, and pale pink, which together form a record of Pollock’s movements.
The Irascibles (irascible meaning to be easily angered) was a group of American abstract artists that protested against the conservative bias in the selections for a national contemporary art competition held by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The protest was made by means of an open letter addressed to the president of the museum. Both The New York Times and Life magazine were keen to cover the protest, the latter including a now famous photo portrait of the group of artists taken in 1951 by Nina Leen.