Crucifix

Regarding Crucifix, Mallary had this to say in a self-interview published in LOCATION (Spring, 1963):

“The Crucifix. . . was very natural for my medium; I stretched and nailed these tuxedoes to the wall and the analogy to what happened on the cross is obvious. At first I postponed doing the piece because I thought of it as a sort of culminating work to end the series. This would have put it about two years hence. Then Franz Kline died. I attended his funeral that Wednesday morning and returned to the studio, moved and upset. Many of Kline’s friends, I realize, did not approve the High Episcopal funeral, it seemed out of keeping with his character. But I was affected by the ceremony. For one thing, I was impressed by the impersonality of it: Kline’s name, as I recall, was not mentioned. Anyway, I returned to the studio and had to be active. I had to do something. I decided to make the crucifix then and there, much as Kline might have made one of his black-and-white action paintings—all at once. I tore up and pinned together five or six tailcoats, doused the whole bunch in plastic and proceeded to separate and stretch out the pieces and nail them to the wall. The image was basically ‘set’ in four hours. But I am still tinkering with details, technical and otherwise.”