|Retroactive II (1964)|
|At Gemini G.E.L., |
One thing that marked his career was a negotiation between the "retinal"—the visual pleasures of tone, color, and subtle detail, which the abstract expressionists spurned—and the conceptual. Another is his exuberant experimentation with the material bases of art, whether paint or pencil, metal or silkscreen; fabric in the form of printers' rags, bedsheets, socks and t-shirts, or beautiful blocks of silk; or the stuff of the cultural world, such as newspapers and magazine photos, which he collaged into multi-layered works of both personal and social commentary.
|Untitled (Hotel Bilbao), |
Rauschenberg studied with Josef Albers at Black Mountain College, where he met composer John Cage and choreographer Merce Cunningham and other early innovators, with whom he continued to collaborate and share ideas. Jasper Johns, another lover, was also a close influence.
I won't outline his entire life, but let's just say, I was very moved and inspired by the various turns he took in his approach to his art, by his wild inventiveness, by his productivity and the diversity of his pieces. This man did not stand still, but constantly challenged the very identity of "art" and his own relationship to it.
Here are a few photos I took today. There are probably better images online, but... these are handy. And mine. With some of them, I even took note of their titles and a few details... (As always, click on the images to see them large on black.)
|One of the Red paintings, 1953–54 (detail)|
Handkerchief, safety pins, chain necklaces,
paint, and pants
16.5 feet high x 4 feet wide
|On the far wall are dirty printers' rags that RR placed|
between two pieces of printing paper and passed through a
press. Below is a close-up. I loved the way the end of the
rag is outlined in the pressed paper (below).
|Mirage (Jammer), 1975|
Part of a series of what he called "jammers," employing
silk he brought from India, thread, sometimes some
wood, or even metal teapots
Solvent transfer and fabric with metal zippers on
"Here snippets of ribbon and fabric intermingle with transfer
images from popular magazines featuring maps, animals,
landscapes, and athletes. The string of colors and pictures
that reels out across the wall is playful and endlessly variable,
as the ninety-seven panels can be unzipped and recombined in any
order each time they are installed. Expansive, improvisational,
and calling for time to view and absorb, Hiccups can be seen as
an extension of Rauschenberg's early interest in
I loved these images, so I'm going to bore you with a few
semi–close-ups. I'd like to go back and spend more
time with this piece.
|Alas, I did not record the names of the pieces shown|
here and in the next photo.
|Except for Untitled (Spread), 1963 (detail below)|