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  • This documentary tells the story of Teri Horton's crusade to get her $5 garage sale find certified as a genuine Jackson Pollock painting. I found myself really enjoying her feisty, earthy spirit, and contrasting it with the attitude of the "Art" world, which has been so dismissive of her claim, because it comes from outside their commonly held standards and beliefs. The contrast between her truck drivin', swearin', fried chicken & beer, trailer park life and the rarified "art world" people she was dealing with is both striking and funny. I must confess that, along with Teri, I knew very little about Jackson Pollock. Seeing this movie has impelled me to find out more about his interesting life.
  • There's this old joke about a small town exhibit of Norman Rockwell paintings where a snobbish big city critic is trashing the art at every turn.

    "We know why you don't like this art". says a local.

    "And why is that?" asks the critic.

    "Because we don't need you to tell us if it's any good!"

    And thus, this film begs the question, "Is collecting modern art about art or collecting autographs?"

    This HBO documentary details the adventures of Teri Horton (Tugboat Annie of the Trailer Park and professional dumpster diver); a small town gal finding herself in possession of what might very well be an original Jackson Pollock potentially worth millions and sets out to prove its authenticity. Herein lies the rub of modern art; "If you don't know who did it, is it any good"? We watch as the painting is wagged from pompous art critics to curious aficionados, business persons and forensic specialists each with their own take and assessment of authenticity. Little of which has anything to do with the actual art on the canvas.

    Here is a fascinating look at the facade of modern art and the stuffed shirts who make cowardly proclamations regarding authenticity while avoiding the content of the painting itself.

    Interesting stuff whether you like modern art or not; and while Ms. Horton's rural irascibility wears mighty thin by the end of the film, there's enough fun and insight to give anyone an art lesson.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    "Who The #$&% is Jackson Pollock?" is a powerful indictment of the art establishment. It challenges and exposes established and esteemed art valuators and dealers as amateurs and incompetents.

    Forensics, the same techniques which are used to provide investigate and provide evidence for criminal prosecutions, proves the authenticity of the thrift store bought Jackson Pollock painting. Comparative analysis of paint chips, photographs, fingerprints, etc., which provided irrefutable proof of the painting's authenticity is absurdly rejected by esteemed art valuators who rely on subjective opinion and often questionable historical provenance. The pretentious Illuminati of the art world won't accept the forensic authentication of the painting because it proves that their subjective methodology of provenancing and valuating art is fraudulent.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I gotta tell ya, anybody who watches this movie should understand two things: One, the art world snobs thus portrayed are typical of what you'll encounter in the art world; they are the RULE, not the exception! (I know from personal experience: I am a professional fine artist.) Two, people with common sense are often maligned because of their supposed lack of intelligence, but listen, NASA, the military, world governments, hell, even the sports world are just a few examples where communication is carried on with nomenclatures which are specific to their disciplines; now, if you don't understand NASA's nomenclature, are we then to surmise that you're an idiot?? Hell, I bet you don't even understand what in hell rappers' slang means, and you may hold that proverbial degree in rocket science! So just because a person is ignorant (not stupid, there's a vast difference) of a subject doesn't mean that they lack intelligence: I can't speak French, but I qualified for MENSA membership.

    Now to the spoiler...don't read it if you haven't seen the movie (It's not much of a spoiler, because if you've researched this controversy on the Internet you'll already have run across this.).

    At the end of the movie it's revealed that there is a third fingerprint match: one that comes from an undisputed original Jackson Pollock! So now there is a fingerprint from a bona fide Jackson Pollock painting that matches the fingerprint on the paint can from Jackson Pollock's studio that matches the fingerprint on the back of the painting in question. Enough evidence for you? It is for me!!! And if you doubt the ability of the forensic examiner, or think that the methodology used was spurious, then I suggest that you see the movie, or view it again and pay closer attention this time.

    And as an aside, my old man was thrown in the drunk tank a few times, just like Pollock; my dad was never fingerprinted, either.
  • This film is entertaining in many ways. The people in the film cover a pretty broad range, but I think it's safe to say that most of them are quirky. Quirky in a good way, though. The story was interesting as well as the whys and hows that originated the story. Without giving too much away, let's just say that the filmmaker does a good job. The story has the ever-popular David v Goliath, Individual v Large Corporate Mentality, and Common Man v The Elite that pretty much anyone can enjoy.

    Knowledge of art and artists isn't necessary, and it isn't necessary for you to know the intricacies of the art world. It's all laid out for you in the film. You don't even have to be interested in art to enjoy the movie; you just have to be interested in watching a good story and letting the real-life personalities lead the way.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I was bothered by the anti-intellectual attitude displayed by Teri Horton and others in the film. What is this pathetic snobbery you find in ignorant people who feel their opinions should be considered simply because they admittedly know nothing about the topic they are talking about?

    Teri shows great smugness by her distaste towards the "Pollock" painting she buys at the thrift shop saying, "Painting should look like something!" I bet this makes her feel all-superior to those of us who like Jackson Pollock because, obviously she knows what "painting" is supposed to look like and we don't.

    Teri's claim that she was dismissed by snobbish art world types because she is a drunken, foul-mouthed, truck driver is specious. I would never say that no one in the art world was ever rude to her, but consider this, if her "Pollock" is genuine and worth more than $100 million, why wouldn't gallery owners and art dealers talk to her?

    If the painting were genuine, the gallery that represents it would get a 15% - 20% commission on the sale. The good publicity the sale would generate would be a boon to any art dealer and that would lead to even more sales for the gallery. It makes no sense that they never even bothered to return her calls.

    Unless you consider this, Teri says that the first art dealers she spoke to asked about the "provenance" of the "Pollock" and she didn't know what a provenance was. Much filmic hilarity ensues from the cockamamie "provenance" Teri fabricates. It goes like this, the painting came into being during a drunken night of painting that included James Cagney, Joan Crawford, John Wayne, a naked Broderick Crawford and ended with Jackson Pollock signing the painting with his penis.

    Pretend you're a gallery owner; you get a call from a woman who, while slurring her words, says she has a Jackson Pollock for sale. You ask where she got it and then she lets loose this story of alcoholic Hollywood revelry so clearly improbable it beggars the imagination. Would you call her back?

    Another problem is the involvement of Tod Volpe, the convicted thief, embezzler and fraud who is retained by Teri to represent her questionable "Pollock". Isn't that like starting a new business and then hiring Ken Lay, Jeff Skilling, Andy Fastow and the other Enron thieves to run it? Then you explain your hires to investors by reasoning since business is corrupt, and these guys are corrupt, they are the perfect management team! Isn't this lunacy?

    At one point, Volpe (the convicted fraud) says it is the art world's job to prove that Teri's painting is NOT a real Pollock. What? Is he an idiot as well as a liar and thief? Hey Volpe, you are asking millions for this painting, you have to prove it IS a Pollock. The burden of proof is on the people making the claim.

    The biggest piece of evidence for the paintings authenticity is the discovery of a partial fingerprint on the back of Teri's "Pollock". The film claims there are no known Jackson Pollock fingerprints in existence, so the self-proclaimed "forensics expert" Paul Biro goes to the Pollock/Krasner Institute and lifts a Pollock fingerprint off a paint can from his studio that he will try to match with the fingerprint found on Teri's painting.

    First question, if there are no known Pollock fingerprints in existence, how does Biro know that the one he got from the paint can is really Jackson Pollock's? Second question, since Pollock was arrested for being drunk and disorderly a few times, are the filmmakers really sure there are no fingerprints of his in existence?

    I had questions about fingerprints and the law, so I spoke with a public defender here in Philadelphia about fingerprint evidence.

    Teri says "if you can send someone to the electric chair by fingerprint evidence, why can't you authenticate a painting?" Well, in fact, you CAN'T send someone to the electric chair based solely on fingerprint evidence.

    Paul Biro finds three matching points on the partial print found on Teri's "Pollock" and the alleged Pollock fingerprint from the paint can. Is that enough? Is there a legal standard here? The answer surprisingly is NO! There is no set legal number of points that have to match for a fingerprint to be considered proof of identity, but according to my legal expert, three points would never be considered anywhere near enough.

    All in all, the fingerprint evidence in the film does not meet even the most minimal legal standards and that is the only solid evidence they have.

    But the clincher for me was when I discovered the existence of a painter named Francis Hogan Brown, who was well known for painting copies of Jackson Pollock's work that were virtually identical to Pollock. Brown says that he distributed lots of these knock-offs in the Southern California area on or around the time Teri Horton claims to have purchased her "Pollock".

    In fact, Brown says the painting in the film (which he has seen in photographs) looks just like one of his. He says that for several years now, he has repeatedly asked to see Teri Horton's "Pollock" up close, but that Tod Volpe and Teri Horton have refused to let him anywhere near it. Why is that? If Francis Hogan Brown can prove that the disputed "Pollock" Teri has is one of his own paintings, doesn't that settle this case?

    One final thing, the film goes to great lengths to show that the former museum director Thomas Hoving is an arrogant, know-it-all, jerk. So what? You don't have to look very hard in the art world to find a pompous ass. I am willing to bet that it would also not be difficult to find a truck driver who is also a pompous jerk. But what does that prove? Absolutely nothing.
  • ahe20717 May 2007
    This was very entertaining and quite a story. However, many of the documentary's claims about the artworld are unfounded. They interview a small handful of slightly and some totally ego-centric people and label them as "the art world". In fact, most of the art world would love for this story to be true, that a truck driver has miraculously discovered a Jackson Pollack in perfect condition that found its way to a yard sale the whole United states away from where it was originally painted. The documentary neglects to focus on many overwhelming amount of evidence that call the piece a fraud and instead focus on the few details tat suggest its authenticity. This in effect portrays a sense of drama that is unreal. Good film though!
  • Documentary about one Teri Horton, a 73-year-old former truck driver (with a colorful and precarious past) who bought a peculiar painting one day in a California thrift shop--only to discover it might be a lost masterwork from famed artist Jackson Pollock. Horton, eager to sell the painting and get on her feet financially, is unable to convince the skeptical art world of her treasure, with naysayers far outweighing the handful of experts who find evidence the painting is indeed a Pollock (the artist left the work unsigned, though a fingerprint on the back is an exact match to the now-deceased maestro). Elements of Pollock's life are explored and intersected with Horton's own background; she tells at one point of a suicide attempt that went amusingly wrong, and her no-nonsense manner and pithy, seen-it-all demeanor are both funny and touching. Short at 74 minutes, the documentary is entertaining, perhaps minor, though a testament to the stubborn human spirit. Offered nine million dollars at one point, Horton refused to give the painting up, wanting her share of the American dream for what it is rightfully going for on the artists market. **1/2 from ****
  • A moderately charming documentary investigates the odd stroke of luck one old lady came across when haphazardly buying this dirt cheap painting in a thrift store which turned out to have serious potential in belonging to famed drip-artist Pollock. The main subject of this small work, a 73 year old truck-driving Teri Horton, could have been a subject unto herself. Appearing greedy and ignorant despite her likability and down-to-earth qualities, her character had such potential when squared off against the art world elite, though the promise the premise seems to be banking on hardly seems to deliver. While a few humorous scenes help flesh out this gaping cultural rift between a grandmother who wanted to use her canvased splatter as a dartboard and the pompous scholarly critics who scoff at her every thought, most of the time is dedicated to the actual process she went through in seeking some sort of vindication, no matter physical or mental in her growing obsession.

    Examining the process Horton undertook to try and prove Pollock authenticity is mildly interesting, entirely moreso for painters, and still accessible enough for the layman to fully appreciate, but concentrating on this unusual circumstance negates the primary appeal Who the F%ck Is Jackson Pollack had going for it and deceives viewers into thinking it will be more culture clash then quirky research just from the title alone. Being a documentary, it is disappointing to not see more pleasantly uncomfortable humor being captured from this project given it's circumstances and marketing practically demand it.

    It may severely underplay an utterly unique and inherent comedic potential, but through this woman's arduous sense of entitlement, becomes delightful enough as we witness interesting forensic details unfold to see her (us) stick it out. There remains quite a few supporting interviewees who give memorable statements and footage to clue in this specific brand of hilarity (slightly-less-then-psychotic art critic Thomas Hoving and methodical, weirdly romantic paint analyst Peter Paul Biro show personalities more freakishly agreeable then many an offbeat-styled script could accomplish). It is a shame then that these fragmented, oddball personalities could not have been documented in actual exchanges to expose and entertain with stilted awkwardness. Remains a light, though partially educational character study of this stubborn woman, and does not betray newsworthy roots in overcompensating facts for perspectives.
  • shaktimama5 November 2007
    This film was so beautifully shot and written, the characters are so larger than life it almost seems to be fiction.

    Rarely does narration work so well in a documentary, but here kept me entertained and believing that the stakes were so high I almost thought it was a murder mystery! The many questions raised about fame, authenticity, and the absurdity of both the art world and the main character left me wanting more! The characters are so brilliant they seem to be caricatures played out by talented actors.

    I throughly enjoyed this film and highly recommend it to documentary and art lovers alike.
  • I have an extended meditation here, but the bottom line is this: the film is scientifically dumb and manipulative. The critic Hoving offers real kickers to the myth of that this junk-shop painting (owned by Ms. Horton) was made by Pollock. The director chose to repress (or was too dull to uncover) these simple, myth-busting facts. Hoving relates these in a letter in ArtNews magazine: 1) that the Horton found-in-a-junk-shop item was painted on a stock, commercially framed-and-sized canvas. Pollock never used such, but used odd-ball, idiosyncratically sized canvases; and 2) the paints in the Horton image are all acrylics (acrylics were scarcely available to Pollock, and though he used a few, he is on record as _never_ making an entire painting of _nothing but_ acrylics!).

    --- This film's subject, an elderly woman who begins to be convinced she found an enormous Jackson Pollock painting at a junk shop, is sometimes an amusing character; she has a compelling, hard scrabble background and can spin a fanciful yarn. But I can find such a person in most any saloon. Her stubbornness is not an unusual human trait, but the filmmaker is in awe of it, and seems to follow it as a potential guide to a painting's authenticity. But stubbornness is not equal in value to reasoned principles. The film makes occasional offers of an unbiased assessment as to whether this painting is a real Pollock or not. But its main argument remains something like "hard-headed wishing can make it so"--this shtick isn't non-conformist, though the filmmaker tries to sell it that way. Regardless of anybody's politics, I think this documentary curiously reflects the G. W. Bush era of feelings-over-reason in which it was made.

    The film's most dubious character is not Volpe, the ex-con (and admitted con-man) art dealer hired by Ms. Horton to sell her painting, but the Montreal painting analyst Biro, who claims that a smudged, partial fingerprint on the rear of the Horton canvas is a certain match to a smudge on a paint can handled by Pollock. Common sense and actual criminal science forensic fingerprint analysts (e.g., see the Fine Arts Registry website and Tom Hanley's analysis) claim that these prints are too compromised and small to be of scientific use. (Biro also seems to have placed a rubber stamp of _the same print on the Horton_ onto the back of another unsigned "possible" Pollock--who could find that compelling?)

    The film is bewilderingly short on educated, detailed responses comparing line and color in the Horton painting and actual Pollocks. This made the film seem like it had something to hide behind Biro's carny-man bluster about fingerprints. Here's an example of the kind of analysis I'd like more of: based on images of the Horton painting in the film, I judge that it is that this is a fake (not a counterfeit, but an amused homage) Pollock made in the 1970s. I offer this guess because of the colors and their proximity in the painting. The rest of my impression is based on the density of the design and the monotony of the curved shapes in the painting. Pollock often used colors (colors that strike on me as "50s colors") that were dark, intense, metallic or earthy. Rarely does he put colors like bright orange, turquoise, and red hard against each other. Admittedly he does use some bright colors in "Number 5," but there the yellow and red are spread far apart and not densely laced on top of each other. The amounts of turquoise and orange in the Horton painting seem especially un-Pollock like, and the swirls seem too uninterrupted, repetitious, and densely layered. The stuffy, old-school curator (Thomas Hoving), brought in early in the film, tosses off the observation that the Horton painting is too compact and busy to be a Pollock--and that remains one of the few painting-literate analyses in the whole #$&%*(^ movie.

    Most Pollocks give the viewer a sense of receding spaces beyond the surface that the Horton painting lacks. Pollock paintings also tend to have more straight lines made by sharp, whip-like gestures of the painter's arm and hand and have areas that seem more calligraphic than just randomly swirled as the Horton painting does. If one is familiar with Pollock's pre-spatter style, which often involved calligraphic and/or vaguely figural designs, sometimes Picasso-esque, one can see more abstract but still distinct versions of such pre-spatter era designs within the Pollock spatter paintings of the late 40s and 1950s. The Horton painting seems an aggressive, monotonous collection of swirls. This is admittedly what many people claim all Pollock paintings look like. But the devil is in the details: I have yet to see a certified Pollock that looks like the Horton painting.
  • This documentary is one of the most interesting ones I have ever seen. It's about an elderly woman who happens to drive a 16-wheeler truck for a living and who lives in a trailer park who buys what she believes is a Jackson Pollock painting from a thrift shop for $5. When she takes the painting to renowned art dealers, she is met with snobbery and disbelief that the painting is authentic. It's as much a tale about the clashing of the ultra rich high class society versus the the low class and least cultured society. There is a nice scene where a country musician sings to the woman and a group of her friends as they munch on chicken wings, smoke cigarettes and drink beer. On the flip side, the art experts all talk in pompous-accents. The most intriguing element of the story, however, is the forensic investigator who the woman hires to see if there is any evidence that can link Pollock to the painting. This documentary is a must see. Rating 8 of 10 stars.
  • gattihogan17 March 2008
    Warning: Spoilers
    hi . am i the only person who noticed that when the painting was compared with the known Pollock that the two seemed to be part of the same piece of canvas, like the piece had been cut to a smaller size? there were lines that crossed over at the right places, like a puzzle would fit. i especially followed some of the yellow lines and they were continuous on both paintings. seems worth a closer look to me. i enjoyed the movie.since we are a love Pollock,hate Pollack family , it was fun to watch this film together although no one changed their mind on their position.we tried to get to MOMA recently but picked the one day that it was closed. i'll try again the next time we are in new york.
  • This movie always keeps its tongue in its cheek. It could have made characters such as Hoving out to be despicable know-it-all who refuse to be wrong. The movie does have a "60 Minutes" feel to it, which is not surprising considering the involvement of Don Hewitt. A tendency to shade things might be expected, but really, no matter which side of the story one supports, there's plenty there to appreciate. Even the heavies in the film seem to be having a good time, maybe because they realize this isn't about some evil art forger trying to pass off a masterwork while bilking unsuspecting art lovers. It really is about the principles involved - and everyone in the movie truly does appear to be driven more by principle than anything else (with the exception of the sleazy art agent, perhaps).

    If nothing else, the film should end up encouraging viewers to learn a bit more about art appreciation and art history. With the ongoing controversy about the Alex Matter alleged-Pollocks, the story is timely and provoking while remaining highly entertaining.

    Side notes: I disagree that Teri Horton comes off as money-hungry. She reportedly turned down at least two multi-million dollar offers for the painting.

    The comment in a previous review regarding her unwillingness to meet with Frankie Brown, the Pollock-esquire splatter artist, is a bit inaccurate. You can read more about him and Teri Horton at www.fine art

    Further investigation into the matter by Paul Biro, the art forensics specialist, is reported at his web site (Biro fine art restoration).
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Spoiler alert. Read the other reviews to determine whether you want to watch this movie. I definitely think it's worth the viewing, and my opinion of the answer to the main question raised might constitute a spoiler.

    I won't bother to give a summation of this movie, which is been done already umpteen times. I'm surprised nobody seems to have drawn what to me seems an obvious conclusion. The forensics are fairly conclusive as to the authenticity. Why can't people just see that this probably (or surely) is a Jackson Pollock, just not a very good one.

    That may even explain why he got rid of it. Not everything done by a master is a masterpiece, unless you just want an autograph. Marc Chagall used to write checks for everything, a loaf of bread, a cup of coffee, knowing that people would not cash his checks, preferring to have his autograph in their hands, also knowing his signature was more valuable than the value of the check.

    Look at a Jackson Pollock in the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Pictures and posters of those same paintings never really capture it. There is an inexplicable power when looking at these paintings in person. I don't understand it, nor can I articulate what it is, but it is a visceral experience, supra rational. The painting in the movie did not have the same power. It was probably done by Jackson Pollock, but probably one he was not proud of.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    So what is it with the truck driving woman who is the center of this documentary? She finds a painting at some second hand store that may be an original Jackson Pollock for $5.00. She later finds out that it may be worth a lot more (25,000,000 more)than the $5.00 she paid for it. She has the painting taken to a lot of art experts who can't seem to agree if it was done by Pollock himself or was just a copy by someone else. A fingerprint is found on the back of the painting at one point. No finger prints of Jackson were ever put on file so an investigator goes to Jackson's old studio (which is a museum now) to see if any of his fingerprints can be lifted from any old paint cans he may have handled. A finger print is found and does resemble the one on the back of the painting...but still no one can seem to agree. Teri Horton (The woman who found the painting) is first offered $3,000,000 for it by someone who believes it is a Jackson. She turns them down for reasons that to me at least are confusing. She stated its the principle of the thing. OK So she wants more for it if in fact it can be proved to be a real Jackson Pollock. No one in this documentary ever does conclusively prove that the painting was from him. I would think if it can't be proved for sure I would take the $3,000,000 like a bandit. The real kicker to me about this film was before the credits started rolling it was said that Teri Horton was offered $9,000,000 from another buyer, in which she turned down also. Is this women dumb or what? What bothered me most about this film was the ignorance of this woman. Is it greed? Maybe. But if a painting can't be proved to be from an artist as an original and someone offered me $9,000,000 I would take it. Why not? Any smart person would I think but she appeared to me as some redneck who has the attitude that the less she knows the better she will be. Well, in any case she should go back to driving a truck.
  • This is a unique and terrific documentary which flows seamlessly along. The story is incredible and the direction is creative.

    What is most striking is the filmmakers' ability to retain the simplicity of the story while weaving it throughout a feature-length film. To accomplish this in such an entertaining way is the mark of a creative storyteller.

    The director smartly frames his cast of characters, capturing their idiosyncrasies and succeeding in making a film that is perhaps more about the people than the painting. The result is a colorful and fun movie which exposes how people can affect the world through imagination and personal determination.

    The film deserves a high rating because it stands out in its genre as a very well done, unique endeavor. Interestingly, the creation of the film itself is as important to the story as anything in the film and, to that end, it proves the power of its own message.
  • This movie is a hoot. A hilarious look at the art market but also an endearing portrait of a tough little lady, Teri Horton. Something for everyone--well, except art critics who believe that an artist´s fingerprint on the back of a canvas is no substitute for a signature! I absolutely enjoyed watching this story play out and found the pacing and perspectives to be very well planned by the director. In addition to the sheer entertainment vaiue, the film provides lots of food for more serious thought. Why do certifiably ¨genuine¨ paintings by artists essentially christened saints fetch offers of many millions of dollars, while paintings which might be by those same artists, but also might not, are considered worthless?
  • This Documentary shows how Beliefs are the most essential part of our Life... In Swann's Way, Marcel Proust wrote :

    « Facts do not find their way into the world in which our beliefs reside; they did not produce our beliefs, they do not destroy them. »

    Nobody will destroy Teri Horton's Belief that she has bought a $50 million Pollock... As nobody will destroy the Expert's / collectors Belief that Teri has bought a $5 Fake.

    Science (also a Belief) does not enter the Realm of Art Experts, as Experts' Judgement does not enter Teri Horton's Realm. Because they both stick to their respective Beliefs, and, as said Proust : Facts do not enter the world of Beliefs...

    Thus, Teri Horton & the Experts are Both right.

    We simply all BELIEVE that Da Vinci has painted the Mona Lisa...
  • This one certainly makes good entertainment - which may be half the trouble.

    It's the story of a California grandmother buying an abstract painting in a junk-shop for $5, and then being tipped-off that it looks like an original Jackson Pollock, worth up to $50 million, if proved genuine.

    You don't have to dig very deep into the story before it starts to rattle, and not only because California is the natural habitat for wild theories of this sort. There is just too much of the pantomime about it all. The woman in question (Teri) is a long-distance truck-driver, who looks surprisingly genteel for one of that trade, as though she is posing as trailer-trash, with philistine opinions about abstract art - as echoed in the somewhat bowdlerised title of the film. She claims that a picture ought to 'look like something'. Well then, why choose such an unlikely present for a friend, when she could have found a nice harmless landscape or a bowl of fruit?

    On come the experts, who are quick to remind us about 'provenance' - a word she claims she has never heard before. Thomas Hoving of the New York Met talks in an impossibly conceited way about his status as an authenticator of paintings, clearly acting a snob character-part, to get us taking sides in the big contest: connoisseurship v. folksy fireside wisdom.

    Well, we certainly do take sides, even sometimes changing sides, as the evidence gradually comes to light. Apparently fingerprints have a lot to do with it, since Pollock despised the brush and palette. They even bring in a fingerprint expert from the Canadian Mounties - another over-theatrical touch. Two of the so-called experts insist that the painting is genuine, but it turns out that both of them were previously jailed for fraud. It is even claimed that the painting doesn't show enough evidence of Pollock's permanent drunkenness on the job!

    Unfortunately, the closer you look at Teri, the more you conclude that she is just a little unhinged altogether. When she finally understood what provenance meant, she invented a colourful ancestry for the painting, and at least one expert swallowed it whole. Last heard-of, she had turned down a $9 million offer, still holding out for the big fifty, even though authentication is looking more elusive than ever. And it will take more than Joe Beam and his (excruciating) country song about her to get me voting against the smart-and-smarmy experts, as I believe I'm meant to.