Wednesday, May 14, 2008

RIP Robert Rauschenberg

The artist Robert Rauschenberg died yesterday of a heart attack. After the abstract expressionism of Pollack and Motherwell, the question was legitimately asked, "Where can art possibly go?" Robert Rauschenberg was one of the people who took it there.

One of my favorite works ever is one of his early works called "Erased de Kooning Drawing." He got Willem de Kooning, an artist of significance, to give him a drawing that de Kooning himself considered to be of some importance in his overall catalogue. Rauschenberg then proceeded to erase it, placing the blank sheet in a frame and displaying it as his own work of art.

Is it art? Is it Rauschenberg's piece if he ended up with nothing that de Kooning didn't already have before?