VCU Libraries Gallery

Promoting Modern Art

The two documents featured above—Pollak’s News Leader essay and her notes for a talk at Westhampton College—exemplify her perspective on the importance of modern art. The newspaper article expresses Pollak’s support of the abstract works on display in the Virginia Museum’s 1958 exhibition of contemporary American art, while the lecture explores the various factors that shape individual painting styles. In both documents, Pollak stresses the contingency of art upon social and historical circumstances, and she therefore defends the “modern” artist’s freedom to experiment with radical techniques and styles befitting of “our age of confusion, fear and uncertainty.” [News Leader 1958 clipping.]

Through her activism as well as her own art, Pollak was a pioneer in creating a supportive audience for modern art in Richmond, Virginia.