We like to think that even the most wildly peculiar art is somehow useful. At the very least, it stimulates memory and feeling. It provokes the association of ideas. In 1949 a poured painting in a Pollock exhibition reminded the critic Henry McBride of "a flat, war-shattered city, possibly Hiroshima, as seen from a great height in moonlight." This is a recurring notion: Pollock's snarls of line were his means of "expressing the city"—in the words of Selden Rodman, who interviewed Pollock two months before the painter's death. "What a ridiculous idea," said Pollock. "Never did it in my life!" Musing, he allowed that he might somehow express "my times and my relation to them." Then he added, "Maybe not even that." Or certainly not that. Art like Pollock's is a means of withdrawing from one's times, of having only a reproachful relation with them. A poured painting offers us the spectacle of a will manifesting its isolation, first to itself and then to the audience.