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In the early 1940's, a painter by the name of Jackson Pollock began developing a technique that allowed him to spontaneously drip enamel paint onto flat canvases, resulting in chaotic-looking works that ushered in the age of Abstract Expressionism.

In 1983, a Florentine yarn company called Filpucci commissioned Andy Warhol to create a series of paintings depicting their product. After initially trying out several other ideas, Warhol finally unraveled the yarn, scattered it across the canvas, and silk-screened it with a multi-colored roll.

The result of both artists' endeavors are surprisingly similar. Warhol was just starting out as a commercial designer in New York when Pollock took the art world by storm, particularly through an article in Life Magazine in 1949 which questioned: "Jackson Pollock: Is He the Greatest Living Painter in the United States?" By the mid-80's, after Abstract Expressionism had been firmly established and Geometric Abstraction was becoming popular, Warhol began broadening his focus by experimenting with the combination of abstraction and his distinctive Pop Art style.

The irony in the resemblance between Pollock's Abstract Expressionist paintings and Yarn (1983) is that Warhol's approach to abstraction couldn't be more different from Pollock: while Pollock's work focused on the action of painting, the movements and gestures that it required, Warhol was able to produce the same style of work smoothly and efficiently using mechanized techniques.

Ultimately, Pollock's creations were about the artistic process. Warhol's were about processing the artistic.

Author: 
Andrea D.