Pools have a special kind of allure. They are the watery sites for play, leisure, romance, respite, submergence, frat party baptisms, Hockney paintings, class markers… The pool in the 1967 film The Graduate serves as a kind of locus upon which the whole film pivots - a site for contemplation. Jay Gatsby of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby is found dead in his pool. In the 1968 film The Swimmer (based off the John Cheever short story of the same name), Burt Lancaster plays a good looking middle aged man that tries to map a river of pools across his Connecticut town so that he may swim his way home, a sequential baptism and fruitless journey to regain his moral, financial, and familial standing. Tony Soprano’s pool in The Sopranos shifts as a signifier of dubiously acquired wealth to become the place where his son attempts suicide - a new, more intimate kind of morbid association. Pools are iconic, and can work - like many bodies of water - as floating signifiers, holding any number of different metaphoric implications. The SVA Pictures Collection’s Pools folder contains some particularly enchanting images. Some highlights: an impossibly crowded public pool, one packed with blow-up toys, one decorated with palm trees, an oasis in the middle of a barren landscape… take a look for yourself!
Jan 13 2018