This week I did a lot of black on the bottom (BB). So far, I have not done a single repeat in clothing or shoes. I like the idea of planning what I’m going to wear for people to see because it’s kind of a fun way to look forward to going to work, so thank you to all of the people who liked my Instagram #ootd (outfit of the day) posts.
I went to a funeral this week. My great aunt died. I know how some of you don’t like being morbid, but I can’t help trying to see a big picture to life when someone I cared about leaves us for good. I know, and I don’t even think about dying at all. I think more about all the living I need to do and the existential quest of what I am supposed to be accomplishing, as though I had a plan before I was born. I am supposed to find something or someone in a search for happiness, as if I had a bet with someone up there in the ether that even within the parameters of the life I was given, I’ve been challenged to still find it. Whatever that may be.
It reminds me of the famous Robert Rauschenberg story of the Erased DeKooning piece. In the video made at the time of the 1997 Guggenheim retrospective, Rauschenberg talked about how he had been doing a series of white paintings and he had conceived the notion of erasing a work making it white again (the paper). The idea of the process backwards, you see? It is such a cerebral notion for a guy who spent a lifetime laughing.
He decided he wanted to erase someone else’s piece since erasing your own would have this feeling that you already knew how it was made, so it would be a lot easier to erase your own work. You know how much pressure you had placed on the pencil and how much elbow grease it would require to get rid of those marks. That makes sense, right?
So he went over to DeKooning’s, a formidable guy even sober. He knocked – the artist didn’t answer at first and he thought, okay so the idea has now died. I tried and knocked and …nothing. Done and done.
But DeKooning answered, let him in, closed the door behind him and stood in front of it so that Rauschenberg couldn’t escape after announcing his query – in the back of his mind he thought for sure that DeKooning would beat the crap out of him.
But instead, DeKooning said something like. “Okay, I understand what you’re asking. I’m going to give you something hard to erase.” He handed Rauschenberg a drawing made with charcoal and paint and other materials, and Rauschenberg spent months trying to erase it.
It was a challenge, and that made the idea more fun. And as much as non-artists scrunch up their noses and think that’s not art with an Emperor’s New Clothes mentality, you really have to admit that it took loads of time and a lot of work to erase that art. So in essence, it was and is artwork.
Art history scholars tend to relay it as a message delineating the changing of the guard from Abstract Expressionism to the new Pop Art establishment, but Rauschenberg himself insisted that was not his intent.
No matter what we do, people will put their own spin on things. Kim Kardashian and Jennifer Lopez are Instagramming like clockwork, and they take the good and take the bad along with it, the negative-nellies who voice their harassment of the selfie variety, and can be very harsh in doing so.
I won’t let that stop me from continuing my journey. I am having fun with the fashion stuff, which was heavy on the Banana (Republic) this week.
In light of the death, my parents were talking about buying their plots this week. Preparing for the inevitable in a way to reduce our stress when the time comes. My great-grandfather bought one extra plot a long time ago and Mom and Dad were thinking of trading it in for their two – but that spot is like my perfect spot. It is a short walk from my great aunt and uncle’s graves, overlooking the Comstock Art facility, which is next to Manley Field House at Syracuse University. I kind of want to keep it for myself. It seemed familiar, like a part of the puzzle that made sense but didn’t….
It really is surreal to think of ending up there. Like, what? That’s all this was? Me, dead, with a view of my art school, along with a giant oak tree and a huge gravestone marked MILLER? What is that supposed to mean? I mean, I know.