Never mind the Pollock 'fractals' | Science News

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Never mind the Pollock 'fractals'

Scientists strengthen claim that fractal analysis for authenticating a Pollock painting is moot

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5:30pm, March 19, 2009

PITTSBURGH — A proposed method for authenticating artist Jackson Pollock’s drip paintings does not hold up under scrutiny, a new analysis finds.

What’s more, the analysis uncovered a new way to identify a mathematical fractal, Katherine Jones-Smith of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland reported March 19 at a meeting of the American Physical Society.

A cache of 32 paintings discovered in 2003 — claimed by some to be authentic Pollocks — sparked a controversy among art historians and soon brought physicists into the quagmire in an effort to identify the paintings’ origins.

A paper published in Nature in 1999 by Richard Taylor of the University of Oregon in Eugene claimed that authentic Pollock paintings were fractal, a mathematical property in which patterns are similar across many scales, like a coastline, which has the same overall shape over very short or very large segments. A true fractal displays thi

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