Stony Brook Foundation (Stony Brook, NY)


Students work on a paint splattered wood floor

In April 2004, a conservation team (left to right: Jill Krupp, Becky Waldroff, Lori Arnold, Susie Jackson) repaired powder post beetle damage to the Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center caused by an infestation many years ago. Resin was injected to consolidate deteriorated areas, and paper pulp was inserted into voids to prevent further damage. The team included three students from Columbia University's Graduate Historic Preservation Program. Photo by Helen A. Harrison

In 1945, Jackson Pollock, then a fledging artist, moved to Long Island from New York City with his new bride, fellow artist Lee Krasner. In this serene environment, Pollock developed a new technique that made him one of the leaders of the Abstract Expressionism visual arts movement. The property near East Hampton, New York would be Pollock's home for the rest of his life and the site of his most innovative and influential work. The Stony Brook Foundation, a nonprofit affiliate of the State University of New York at Stony Brook, took over the development and preservation of the property, creating a museum and study center devoted to scholarship in modern American art, with special emphasis on Jackson Pollock, Lee Krasner, and their contemporaries.

In fall 2003, prior to the installation of climate control in the Pollock-Krasner barn studio, the building was re-roofed and a concrete pad was poured under the crawl space to create a vapor barrier. The project was designed to stabilize the environment inside the studio, where the floor is covered with paint marks that document Jackson Pollock's most famous poured paintings and the walls bear traces of Lee Krasner's energetic gestures. Photo by Helen A. Harrison

Everything in the house is original, including the artists’ personal library of books and large collection of jazz and classical records. The studio contains both artists’ working materials, with the floorboards covered with streaks of paint from the unique painting method developed by Pollock. All these materials stored and used in the house and studio are in danger of damage by severe seasonal temperature and humidity fluctuations due to a lack of a heating or cooling system. In addition, there are inadequate ventilation and fire protection systems.

The federal Save America’s Treasures (SAT) program, begun in 1999 as a millennium initiative, addresses the urgent preservation needs of the nation’s most significant historic sites and collections. The Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center was awarded an FY 2003 SAT grant of $107,000 through the NEA to provide climate control and fire suppression systems in both the house and studio.

During renovation work on the Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center, Jackson Pollock's studio floor was protected by a layer of foam board and a tarpaulin to prevent damage to the fragile paint surface. Photo by Helen A. Harrison

(From the 2003 NEA Annual Report)