A documentary about the famed Jackson Pollack painting called “Mural” at the University of Iowa will make its broadcast debut tonight on Iowa Public Television.
Ben Hill, senior marketing director at the U-I, says the hour-long documentary will tell the remarkable tale of the $200 million oil painting, its lasting influence and its unusual global journey — which is still underway.
“What you’ll see is that it has really turned out to be a pivotal painting in the history of American art,” Hill says. “The story of how it came to be, how it came to Iowa, how it stayed in Iowa and what is happening to it now. It really shows what an amazing piece it is.” After the Iowa River flooded in Iowa City in 2008, the enormous painting was saved from the U-I Art Building before it was inundated and the piece embarked on what became a global tour.
“It went to Des Moines, it went to the Figge Art Museum in Davenport and eventually made its way to Los Angeles, the Getty Institute, for a really meticulous (restoration) process that it went through,” Hill says. “It had a record-breaking exhibition there and then it came back to Iowa and now it’s in Europe.”
After visiting art museums in Italy, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom, the painting is scheduled to return home to the U-I in 2018, where it will become the centerpiece in the campus’ new Museum of Art. The painting was created in 1943 and measures 20×8 feet. It’s difficult to describe to someone who hasn’t seen it, as its style is abstract expressionism.
“The best word I can use to describe Mural and a word you hear a lot is energy,” Hill says. “It’s big, it’s overwhelming and it’s powerful. The size of it is really what sets it apart and the energy that it took to create a painting of that size with that much energy. It really is captured there in kind of an eternal way.”
The documentary, “Jackson Pollock’s Mural: The Story of a Modern Masterpiece,” will air tonight at 8 on IPTV, with a rebroadcast next Sunday at 3 p.m.