I recently fell in love with a story about a great piece of American art.
And it's about a guy named Bob Rauschenberg.
He was a young artist, and he went to go visit his idol.
You know, he really loved this guy and he was totally terrified.
He was so nervous that he was clutching a bottle of Jack Daniels for liquid courage.
And the truth is: he actually wasn't just visiting.
He was visiting Bill de Kooning to ask for something.
He wanted one of Bill de Kooning's drawings.
You see, Bill de Kooning, he was a dumb guy, he knew exactly what Rauschenberg was up to,
because Rauschenberg had recently been experimenting with his own art.
He had been creating these drawings and then erasing them.
But that wasn't enough for Bob Rauschenberg,
because Bob Rauschenberg didn't want to just erase his own art, he wanted to erase the art of his hero.
So de Kooning obliged but he took his time,
and he tortured the young artist as he wandered around his studio in search of the perfect drawing.
He didn't want to just give him a random drawing.
He wanted it to be something really great, something that he really loved.
And he finally settled on a drawing that was very, very hard to erase.
It was comprised of layers of lead and charcoal.
And he generously gave it to Bob Rauschenberg.
According to Bob, it took nearly two months to erase the drawing.
But it was Jasper Johns who came along and framed it and he gave that drawing a title, called "Erased de Kooning by Bob Rauschenberg."
It was Jasper Johns who recognized that in the process of erasing de Kooning's work,
Bob Rauschenberg had actually created something new, his own new work of art.