29 January, 2007

Erased de Kooning Drawing

This section of Making Sense of Modern Art explores Robert Rauschenberg's drawing Erased de Kooning Drawing.

Making Sense of Modern Art offers an extensive and engaging guide to modern and contemporary works in the Museum's permanent collection. Its rich-media format enables you to "zoom in" on full-screen details of individual artworks, explore excerpts from archival videos and films, and listen to commentary by artists, art historians, critics, and collectors.


Erased de Kooning Drawing is iconic because it stands for an era when something seemingly negative could, in fact, turn out to have positive repercussions. It is revolutionary in a philosophical, though not in an aesthetic, sense. The influence of Rauschenberg's white work can be seen in many later artists, from Richard Hamilton, who designed The Beatles' "white album" cover, to Richard Tuttle and Felix Gonzalez-Torres . Mostly, I see Erased de Kooning Drawing as part of Rauschenberg's way of making a grand gesture. If he had created the White Paintings at a different time or in a different way, they would be forgettable, if not laughable, but when we installed Seven Panel White Painting in an arched niche in the Reina Sofia museum in 2002 for the Black Mountain show I curated there, it transformed that space into something like a temple, even though there was much that was active going on around it. It transmitted a sense of stillness, of interiority. It was only later that one stopped to wonder at its maker's quiet genius.


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