Tuesday, January 11, 2011

When The Feds Wipe History Off The Map

Dissent is next, guaranteed.

The Case of Missing Cigarettes

"Buckley was referring to a 33-cent stamp commemorating Jackson Pollock. In 1999, Pollock becomes the second American painter to be thus commemorated (first was Norman Rockwell). The U.S. Postal Service hired an artist, one Howard Koslow, to copy the iconic Jackson Pollock image by Martha Holmes. Holmes took the photo at Pollock’s studio in East Hampton, N.Y., for a LIFE magazine cover story in 1949. The photo, of course, showed the denim-clad artist, a chain smoker, pouring paint onto canvas, with a cigarette hanging languidly from his mouth. Koslow was explicitly ordered to leave out the cigarette, and despite much hoo-hah, the stamps went to press without it.

But this is not the first time a cigarette has been excised by the U.S. Postal Service. A more egregious example was the 1994 stamp commemorating Robert Johnson; the original photo showed the blues guitarist with his signature cigarette, which was notably absent from the stamp. This is more egregious because there were only two verified photographs of Robert Johnson, and the portrait on the stamp was the defining image of the man."

h-t to BoingBoing


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