Tuesday, June 27, 2017

New York: MoMa – Robert Rauschenberg: Among Friends

Robert Rauschenberg: Among Friends

My whole area of art has always been addressed to working with other people. Ideas are not real estate.”
Robert Rauschenberg

Robert Rauschenberg: Among Friends, exhibition at MoMa, until September 17, is the first 21st-century retrospective of the artist, and presents over 250 works across mediums from his six-decade career. Collaboration was always critical to Rauschenberg, and his inclusiveness did not stop at the point of making; it often involved the viewer. To highlight the importance of exchange for Rauschenberg, this exhibition is structured as an “open monograph”—as other artists came into Rauschenberg’s creative life, their work comes into these galleries, mapping the play of ideas.
Robert Rauschenberg – Grand Black Tie Sperm Glut – 1987

Robert Rauschenberg: Among Friends
Jasper Johns – Flag - 1954-55

Robert Rauschenberg – Short Circuit – 1955
Created for the Stable Gallery’s Annual Group Show, Rauschenberg invited four artist to participate, though as his friends were not accepted, he invited each one to provide a work to be incorporated in Short Circuit, only Susan Weil and Jasper Johns submitted works, which he placed within shallow cabinets with the word “open” written on the door, prompts discovery of what is inside.

  Robert Rauschenberg – White Painting – 1951
repainted, likely by Brice Marden – 1968
7 panels
Rauschenberg used a roller to apply house paint, producing a surface without brushstrokes; Cy Twombly worked on them as well, and he said that they were to be repainted if they became marred.  Later on Rauschenberg had the White Paintings were remade by others; this one was remade by artist Brice Marden, who worked as his assistant in the 1960s.

Robert Rauschenberg – Rebus – 1955
drawing by Cy Twombly
Rauschenberg gathered many of the materials featured in rebus from and near his studio on Fulton Street, Lower Manhattan, later describing the work as
“A concentration of that particular week in that particular neighborhood.”
The painting includes drawings by his friend Cy Twombly, who often worked in his studio. Believing that titles “should function as another element in the work,” Rauschenberg named Rebus after a game in which words and pictures can be used interchangeably.

Robert Rauschenberg: Among Friends
Andy Warhol – Campbell’s Soup Cans – 1962
32 canvases

Robert Rauschenberg – Mud Muse – 1968-71
with engineers 
Carl Adams – George Carr – Lewis Ellmore - Frank LaHaye 
Jim Wilkinson
The basin of Mud Muse is filled with 8,000 pounds of mud made of bentonite, used while drilling oil or natural gas wells.  Sound-activated pneumatic tubes installed in its base pump air through the mud in response to a tape recording of the sounds of the burbling clay itself.  The resulting work seems simultaneously primordial – evoking ancient tar pits – and futuristic.


 “Painting relates to both art and life. Neither can be made. (I try to act in that gap between the two.)”
Robert Rauschenberg - 1959
When Rauschenberg launched his career in the early 1950s, the heroic gestural painting of Abstract Expressionism was in its heyday. He challenged this tradition with an egalitarian approach to materials, bringing the stuff of the everyday world into his art. Often working in collaboration with artists, dancers, musicians, and writers, he invented new interdisciplinary modes of artistic practice that helped set the course for art of the present day. The ethos that permeates Rauschenberg’s work—openness to the world, commitment to dialogue and collaboration, and global curiosity—also makes him a touchstone for our time.
Robert Rauschenberg – Monogram – 1955-59


Robert Rauschenberg – ACE – 1962
five panels
Playing with the conventions of painting, Rauschenberg signed this work in two parts and on opposite ends, with a printed R on the bottom. Far left and the rest of his name “auschenberg” stenciled in pencil on the far right.  Ace” was Rauschenberg’s nickname for the dancer and choreographer Steve Paxton.

Robert Rauschenberg – Black Market – 1961
At the Art in Motion exhibition in Amsterdam, Rauschenberg placed a suitcase attached to the painting on the floor below it with an assortment of objects inside.  Viewers were invited to take an item and replace it with one of their own, and to make a drawing of their contribution on one of the clipboards attached to the canvas.  When he found out that visitors were simply stealing the objects, he withdrew the invitation.

Robert Rauschenberg: Among Friends
Roy Lichtenstein – Drowning Girl - 1963

Robert Rauschenberg: Among Friends
Marcel Duchamp - Bottle Rack - 1960
(third version, after lost 1914 original)
Rauschenberg purchased this work for three dollars after he saw it in an exhibition called Art and the Found Object, in which his own work was displayed. He asked Duchamp to sign it with the inscription that reads Impossible de me rappeler la phase originale / M.D. Marcel Duchamp /1960. Proudly displaying Bottle Rack in his studio among treasured works by other artists, he latter recalled, “It became one of the most important works in my collection.”

  Robert Rauschenberg – Urban Katydid (Glut) – 1968


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