WOMAN WITH A PAINTING THAT MAY OR MAY NOT BE A JACKSON POLLOCK DOESN'T KNOW ART, BUT SHE KNOWS BULL*% WHEN SHE SEES IT -- "60 MINUTES"
The art world calls it "connoisseurship." Teri Horton calls it bull%@#. The plainspoken 74-year-old knew nothing about art when she bought a big, drippy painting for five dollars years ago that she says a fingerprint proves is a $50 million Jackson Pollock. But when art connoisseurs say her painting doesn't "feel like" or they don't "believe it's" a Pollock, the ex-truck driver's BS detector beeps like an old fuzz buster. Horton tells her story to Anderson Cooper for a 60 MINUTES report to be broadcast Sunday, May 6 (7:00-8:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.
Two of the connoisseurs are featured in "Who the %$#@ is Jackson Pollock?," a documentary about Horton and her quest. "It's pretty, it's superficial and frivolous and I don't believe it's a Jackson Pollock," says Thomas Hoving, the former director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Says Ben Heller, an art collector who owns Pollock's work: "Doesn't feel like a Pollock, doesn't sing like a Pollock, doesn't fail like a Pollock."
Their methodology fails Horton. "There is no way anybody can get up and look at that painting, or any Pollock for that matter, and be able -- by visual examination, and wait for the mystical feeling that they get that comes over them -- to decide whether it is or whether it is not authentic," she says. "They call it 'connoisseurship,'" Horton tells Cooper. "[I call it] bull&%#!" Click here to watch this excerpt.
A fingerprint on the back of her canvas, which a forensic art expert says matches a print from a paint can in the Long Island studio where Pollock created his works, is all the proof Horton needs. She is so confident that, after the print was matched, she turned down a $2 million offer for the painting. "Be fair with me and I'll sell it," she tells Cooper. "No. I'm not going to let them steal it from me."
The art world remains reluctant to accept the fingerprint instead of a provenance -- the usual document of authenticity that accompanies works of art. Horton reasons that if fingerprints can convict criminals, they can identify painters.
Denied so far, Horton in undaunted. "But how dare they tell me it's not authentic? They laugh at me and say, 'You don't know what you're talking about,'" says Horton, now wagging her finger at the naysayers, "and I say, well, one of these days, I just want to say 'neener, neener, neener, I told you so.'"