"The paint went all over, and of course some of it went off the canvas," the photographer says of Pollock's technique, re-enacted here in his studio. (Adrien Broom)
Alice & Glass Plate Negative of 'The Damned Club' (Adrien Broom)
The Parlor, Florence Griswold House (Adrien Broom)

Dramatic New Photographs Recreate Scenes of Artists at Work

Adrien Broom’s series brings vitality to how we think about the likes of Jackson Pollock, Lee Krasner or Mark Twain

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When Adrien Broom first visited the former Long Island home of Jackson Pollock and his wife, the painter Lee Krasner, she was transfixed by the splattered floorboards in Pollock’s studio, a relic of the modernist’s signature technique. “You see the borders of some of the most famous works to come out of America,” Broom says, “and they all merge together to create something so special that is only in this one place.” Conjuring such moments for her photography series Holding Space, Broom recruits actors to imagine life in richly suggestive historic dwellings, such as those of Mark Twain, the arts patron Florence Griswold and the photographer Alice Austen. Seeing their quotidian belongings humanizes their one-time occupants. “These people have become legendary—godlike,” she says. “But here is a bedroom with a tiny little bed, and this is their bathroom! It’s inspirational because they created wonderful work, but they were still just people.”

About Amy Crawford
Amy Crawford

Amy Crawford is a Michigan-based freelance journalist writing about cities, science, the environment, art and education. A longtime Smithsonian contributor, her work also appears in CityLab and the Boston Globe.

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