Minuscule: Modern Art

Apparently, late in the 18th century, the printmaker Hokusai was attending the contemporary equivalent of a gallery opening. There was a wide a plaza-space in Edo, in the open air under the sun, where artists had come from all over Japan to showcase their works. Hokusai, already a famous artist, brought nothing.

When in incredulous public asked him where his works were, he took out a thirty-foot scroll of rice paper and unfurled it into the ground. He then took a giant paintbrush, dipped it in blue paint, put it to the paper, and ran the length of the scroll, waving it lackadaisically up and down. Then he took a rooster, dipped its feet in orange paint, and pushed it down the length of the page.

The Imperial scribe asked him what he called his work.

He said, “Autumn leaves falling over a great river.”


~ by davekov on 2 June 2010.

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