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Friday, January 9, 2015

You Can Learn Some Crazy Stuff from the Funny Papers!

Erased de Kooning
I was reading the Sunday cartoons this morning. (I know, I know, I'm behind the times.) Anyway, Barney and Clyde had an item about a student who turned in a blank paper for art class saying it was an "erased" work. The clip went on to describe a 1953 "abstract" by Robert Rauschenberg who took a valuable sketch by Willem de Kooning, a Dutch American abstract expressionist, and erased it. He titled it "Erased de Kooning." (He should have erased a few more. I nominate this ugly piece.) Erased de Kooning remained in Rauschenberg's private collection for years until being purchased by the San Francisco Museum of Art in 1998. Really, I had to check the accuracy of the comic strip; the story seemed so unbelievable. But it is, in fact, true! Anyway, if such a ridiculous "work of art" should end up anywhere, San Francisco seems most appropriate.

Rauschenberg's white period
If anyone needed another proof of the insanity of our modern age, this is it. I don't hate all modern works, but most of them can hardly be called art. My grandchildren's finger paintings show more creativity than many of them. At best, they are graphic designs, at worst they are simply ridiculous, like Rauschenberg's works from his "white period." They remind me of the "Stations of the Cross" by Barnett Newman at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. where lines on white canvas are shifted to depict each station. I remember standing in the middle of the room looking around wanting to yell, "The emperor has no clothes!"

I think Rauschenberg and Newman must be the prototype for the swindlers who conned the emperor. They sell a nearly naked canvas as an intricate artwork created for a king. Tell me that's not a con game!

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