Dear Cleo 17 07 22

Dearest Cleo,

Well darling, your school summer holidays have started and in only two weeks you will be on your first plane and off to Italy, you are a lucky girl and I bet you can’t wait.

I have been researching “Erased de Kooning” by Robert Rauschenberg, from my reading, I believe it to be overhyped with Rauschenberg himself declaring, over two separate interviews twenty years apart, “It’s poetry” and “It’s not a negation it’s a celebration, it’s an idea”.

There is a lot of conjecture on the internet regarding the truth of the story as told by Rauschenberg and the intentions of Rauschenberg. Probably the single best contribution on the internet is by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art “…. there is more than one story behind Erased de Kooning Drawing, and trying to place it within a single narrative risks obscuring the complexity of its history and potential. It is too simplistic to characterize the gesture of erasing de Kooning’s work as an act of oedipal insurrection, or an attempt to erase the past to create a new present. Rauschenberg as an artist and as a person was never so unilaterally inclined. It also is an oversimplification to place the work in a straight lineage from Duchamp to Conceptualism. The act Erased de Kooning Drawing embodies was far more complex, and the artwork is far more subtle and far-reaching. Yes, the erasure was an act of destruction, but as a creative gesture it was also an act of reverence or even devotion—to de Kooning, to drawing, to art history, and to the idea of taking a risk and being open to whatever comes as a result. For now, Erased de Kooning Drawing has settled into place as a progenitor of Conceptual art, but its curious beginnings and blank-slate nature ensure that it remains open.”

I saw the piece at the Tate Modern Gallery last year and it remains, what it always was, the remnants and the record of a performance piece by Robert Rauschenberg and nowhere near as good as the goat with the tyre.

The weather today is not too good for a summer holiday but then your real summer holiday is in Italy, I have been there once or twice and I have never known it to rain.

My love as always

Mickos x



Dickerman L. and Borchardt Hume A. (2016)Robert Rauschenberg. London: Tate publishing