I know this is old news around the Internet, but the reason bloggers enable comments is because we learn from them. In the case of the possible forced Pollock UIMA deaccession (or whatever you want to call it), two commenters have provided far more background to the piece in question (Mural), than I could have possibly given myself having never seen it. I’m reposting the most relevant of their points below with an added thank-you to all of my readers and commenters lately, who have contributed immensely thoughtful and intelligent feedback on the items posted here.
Tom Moody: I spent a lot of time with that painting when it was in MOMA's last big Pollock retro. It's a perfect interweaving of spidery implied figures stopping just short of articulation, swirling arabesque patterns, and molecular energy fields. It's an incredible juggling act to keep so many elements going across such a large surface area and to keep every stroke so fresh and “on.” Jpegs don't do this justice or show the layers within layers of paint that keep your eye engaged when viewing it in person—it is visual music and I do believe it was done in a quick burst of brilliance….
The Hill: Moody is right the value of the piece lies in its formatting the painting logic Pollock was to use later. However, the time of 10 hours remains problematic due to overlays on dried areas. Off record scholars have implied to me that suspicion has it, Pollock may have come back to the work much later in the 50's. I'm not sure if everyone is satisfied w/ its date in terms of Mural's lack of crudeness to other works of the time. Really eye brow raising speculation has it Motherwell might know since he helped paint it w/ Pollock. !!!! Convention buzz.
….I felt that even those who had access to the work, did not value it. And the foot traffic, myself having worked at the Museum, would be on a 10K to one ratio w/ a large Metro Museum. And that's conservative.
Lastly, rumors have it the Mural may have been damaged in the flooding, as it was always hung low (as your photo indicates) and in a sub atrium section of the Iowa Museum. The museum would flood once every 10 years, but this last apparently came much quicker and w/ way more volume.