Friday, February 25, 2011

Do Overs

Do you think anyone under the age of twenty would know what this is? Claes Oldenburg, once upon a time ironic and clever is now completely mysterious.

I love Robert Rauschenberg. He was one of my very favorite artists of all time. I loved his happy spirit, how he was unafraid to work in any kind of media. I was in awe, learning that he threw one of his art projects, a series of boxes, into the Arno River after a critic suggested he do so. He didn't toss them in the river out of desperation; he thought the critic had come up with a very fun idea.

Another inspiring Rauschenberg story, at least I find it inspiring, is that he erased a De Kooning drawing - again not out of any kind of "negative" emotion, but because he was at the time exploring purity, painting white paintings. He talks about this piece here.

When I think about do-overs, when I imagine tossing one of life's episodes into the Arno (or Potomac) river, the urge generally comes from a sense that whatever I want to toss was a "mistake." (What IS a mistake, anyway?) Almost always for me, the idea of erasing comes from a place of wanting to obliterate what was, rather than creating space for something new. I love the idea of erasure as purification.

I'm thinking about this today as I reflect on what I received from the Star Mandarins. As they dissassemble the structure through which they have always kept us connected to our personal and collective destinies, I'm trying to imagine that they are doing this in the spirit of Rauschenberg - with humor and curiosity, and, too, with trust. Yeah ... trust ... that every one of our social structures won't go belly up while we co-create the new structure.

I want to trust. I want to believe. But bloody hell, this moment in time is nervewracking. Maybe it's just me. Is it?

Happy Friday y'all. Shalom.

Speaking of mysterious, check out this staircase. Ummmm ... why??


ellen abbott said...

I think of our own cultural revolution that split the country that remains divided to this day. I hope this new shift in social culture brings unity instead of division.

Reya Mellicker said...

May it be so!

Reya Mellicker said...

Just heard on NPR that in Benghazi, Libya's second-largest city, the rebels are organizing trash pick-up and other city services. They said the city is running better now than it was under the old regime. Wow.

jeanette from everton terrace said...

When I think about mistakes I remember an elementary school spelling bee. It was down to just two of us and she missed her very difficult word and I spelled it right. Then I had to spell just one more word to win and it was an easy one - library. I missed it but never again spelled it wrong. Do we think of things as mistakes because the outcome or experience is something other than what we anticipated? Didn't we learn something? I usually do. Guess you can tell this is something I also think about quite often.

PS - I don't anyone under 30 would know what that was, I do :)

Val said...

this is a nerve wracking time for sure but I also want to believe and trust - have to actually.

lovely to be inspired by Rauschenberg!

thanks for your wonderful blog and heres to a giant successful co-creation project!

Reya Mellicker said...

Val, the connection you and I have - as well as our connections to our other blog kin - are a big part of setting the foundation for the changes ahead. All I can say is: wow.

NanU said...

I like the idea of a work of art being ephemeral. Here now, not here before, not here later.
I think of that after looking up at the wonderful cloud formations in the late sky and reacting - darn, don't have my camera with me again. Appreciate the sight while I can. Toss it in the river!

Time for Benghazi residents to be proud of _their_ city and their country, the one they are responsible for. Having a stake goes a long way to keeping things in shape. Yea for the Libyans! And all their neighbors!

Jo said...

Reya, your post today is filled with important concepts. Embracing the new, forgiving the old, keeping our humor, curiosity, and especially, trust...all huge components to the compassionate evolution in which we are now engaged.

How often does a species get to select its own evolution? This is a special time, indeed.

Tom said...

wow, what a thought, erasing art--as art. Imagine looking at a canvas that 'was' the mona lisa. Sounds like a Hirschorn exhibit (one of the damndest places i've ever had the pleasure of walking through)

tattytiara said...

I remember we had one of those kicking around the house when I was a kid. It was fairly self explanatory, but I don't think I ever did know what it's specific use was for (assuming it has one) since ours was never used. It was pretty much too old and hard, but nobody seemed to need it anyway.

Reya Mellicker said...

Compassionate evolution. I love that phrase.

Tatty - hah! Mostly those erasers tore up the typewriter paper and we had to start over again. I remember the invention of white-out. It was miraculous! It came in different colors in case carbon copies were being typed on yellow, green or pink paper.

I am a fossil!!

steven said...

i think that errors and divisiveness and difference and all the other ands and ors can be good if they're understood with care and not with fear. fear comes out of the what ifs that surround any change or newness. the status quo is so comfy but it takes such a lot of work to maintain. it looks like a lot of people would rather throw their energy into maintaining it than accepting all the otherness of the whole reality contained within what we so simply call the world. i bet the stairs lead to an attic of such wonder and amazement that the stairs were made extra obvious and easy to climb. that way people wouldn't bother with them! steven

Danial123 said...

I hope this new shift in social culture brings unity instead of division.