Zen Spot #7 - Mindfulness, meditation and the Erased de Kooning February 24, 2018 00:05

Erased de Kooning

Erased de Kooning Drawing is a work created by Robert Rauschenberg. The final artwork appears to be an almost blank piece of paper. Created in 1953 by erasing a drawing he obtained from Willem de Kooning, the work is, at once, powerful and sublime, requiring an in-person viewing to fully experience its subtle brilliance. 

Grafitti in Philadelphia

Street art is proof that some voices refuse to be ignored. They will sing anywhere and at any time, like tree roots forcing their way through the joints of an underground pipe in search of water. Throughout Philadelphia, there is a group of unknown artists who leave artwork behind on street signs, in train stations, on park benches and, in some cases, simply leaning on a curb.

Some of the work is good. Time was taken to create a piece of durable substance. Other works are spontaneous, fleeting and fragile. Rain would nearly destroy them and…perhaps that’s the point. A third group is that of the accidental. All over the city, people leave behind beauty, weirdness and, ultimately, a wonderful little piece of themselves.

It’s hard to tell what the original large image above was (with the assumption that the image was painted over by the city as part of an anti-graffiti program). The work was pasted to an underpass just east of the corner of 5th and Callowhill Streets, in that unnamed section of Center City between Olde City and Northern Liberties.

Ripping-off Banksy

The work, and its technique, was clearly inspired by Banksy, the world famous and anonymous street artist. Usually I loathe direct rip-offs of any creative work; especially those that contain fear or tentativeness. I figure, if you’re going to steal, steal big. Use the nuclear option. The fact that this artwork was created elsewhere and pasted to the wall, instead of painting it directly on the wall, makes me cringe.

That said, the rolled beige paint used to camouflage the work is pure Dada. It’s benign, cheap and lazy. A bureaucrat initiated the program, a committee chose the color and a hourly laborer painted the wall with what was, apparently, little care.

Not all art means something and, when it does, it doesn’t always mean something important. This does.

Number 7

I love the correlation between the emergent concept on which Erased Dekooning was created and the destructive techniques used at both the beginning and middle of the latter’s life.

Because of its physical location, this Zen Spot can be loud at times but, for the most part, the noise is white — like the sound of the crowd in the background during a television baseball broadcast on a hot summer evening. It can, however, offer a cool respite from the summer sun.

Wait for August, find the spot and sit for a moment…or two.

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About DharmaMechanic

An artist, entrepreneur and writer walking the Buddhist path, his art focuses on the Dharma Wheel. The four wheels shown above are among over 600 DharmaMechanic has created over the course of his career. Each has a unique story. If you’d like to read the story of these wheels or purchase a framed 20" x 20" ready-to-hang print, visit SilkDharma.com.

What are The Four Noble Truths?

  1. The truth of suffering
  2. The truth of the origin of suffering
  3. The truth of the cessation of suffering
  4. The truth of the path to the cessation of suffering

What is The Noble Eightfold Path?

  1. Right view
  2. Right intention
  3. Right action
  4. Right speech
  5. Right livelihood
  6. Right effort
  7. Right mindfulness
  8. Right concentration

What is a Dharma Wheel?