Ed Harris Gets Arty

updated 04/21/2004 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/29/1998 12:00AM

Modern art merged with movie art last night at New York's Guggenheim Museum, where director and star Ed Harris unveiled his pet project "Pollack," a screen bio of colorful but troubled abstract painter Jackson Pollack, before -- what else? -- an arty crowd. Among the recognizable faces were Harris's costar in the flick, Marcia Gay Harden, Victoria's Secret model Stephanie Seymour and Broadway's current "The Music Man," Craig Bierko -- recently named by PEOPLE as the Sexiest Guy on the Great White Way. Asked how that has affected his life, Bierko told PEOPLE last night, "I can't say a single bad thing has happened from it, other than the teasing." For Harris ("Apollo 13") and his new movie, however, part of how his life had to change was gaining 30 pounds in order to play Pollack for the latter part of the movie. Even harder, the actor, who turns 50 next week, told PEOPLE, was having to learn how to paint convincingly for the camera. "I just spent a lot of time, when I had the time, exploring different techniques," he said. "You go through some kind of slow metamorphosis where you think you can actually create something." The paintings done by Harris in the film certainly LOOK like the genuine article. "You can actually fool yourself," Harris admitted.

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