Tracing Paint: The Pollock Krasner Studio in Virtual Reality

The Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center was opened in 1984 to show where Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner painted their abstract expressionist masterpieces. None of these iconic works can be seen on site — they are all in museums or private collections around the world. The intention behind creating the virtual reality experience Tracing Paint was to bring the paintings back into the studio so visitors could have a deeper appreciation of what was created in this historic place. This VR experience also permits greater accessibility to the studio, enabling people who can’t travel and those with mobility issues to visit the site virtually.

We used photogrammetry to scan and create a 1:1 model of the artists’ studio. With the help of contemporaneous photographs, computer graphics transformed the model to realistically represent the way it looked in the late 1940’s and early ‘50s — when Pollock painted his most iconic paintings, like Blue Poles, in the drafty, unheated, barn. Then we placed paintings back into the studio on the floor right where they were painted, and, using spatial audio, brought Pollock himself back to speak about his technique, inspiration and intentions.
The studio was updated with heat, electricity and walls before Pollock died in a car crash in 1956 and Lee Krasner took over the studio. The second chapter of the story takes visitors to the bright, updated version of the studio she worked in to see her paintings on the walls where she painted them and hear Lee talk about her work and what mattered to her as an artist.