Fifty years ago this month, the world watched as Apollo 11 landed on the moon and Neil Armstrong became the first person to walk on the lunar surface. Robert Rauschenberg was one of a number of artists invited by NASA to the Kennedy Space Center to witness and document the launch.

The launch inspired Rauschenberg to create the Stoned Moon Series, a series of 34 lithographs printed at Gemini G.E.L. in Los Angeles. Works from the Stoned Moon Series are in private collections and in major venues like the Smithsonian.

Robert Rauschenberg
Cover Page, Stoned Moon Book, 1970

What has rarely been seen, is The Stoned Moon Book, that Rauschenberg put together after the launch. The Stoned Moon Book contains images and text that record both his experience and impressions of the Apollo 11 mission. The book details the artist’s experience on his way to, during and after the launch. He includes photos and quotes from participants at the Space Center and at the print shop, highlighting the collaborative effort that went into the space launch and the printing of his work.

The text is joyful, hopeful and also reflects Rauschenberg’s fondness for Florida (“free orange juice, air condition, swimming pool”), where he lived and worked for more than forty years, in his studio on Captiva Island. Rauschenberg was inducted into the Florida Artists Hall of Fame in 1991. He died on Captiva in 2008 at age 82.

Four photo-collages for the book’s front and back covers and endpapers, and eleven layout pages are on display, through July 26th, at the Craig F. Starr Gallery in Manhattan.

The exhibit, Robert Rauschenberg: Stoned Moon (1969-70), includes work from the series as well as The Stoned Moon book.

Robert Rauschenberg at the Tampa Museum of Art

Robert Rauschenberg’s collages often became master prints, which included the artist’s photographs. What made his work so unique was his ability to see beauty and fascination in many of the mundane things he encountered in his daily life.

The Tampa Museum of Art has an extensive collection of Rauschenberg’s works, including some rarely exhibited photographs.

Some of the photographs that Rauschenberg took while traveling around the U.S. in 1983, will be on display at  the museum this summer. Suite 1 from America Mix-16 is a portfolio consisting of 16 photogravures from the museum’s collection.

Robert Rauschenberg: Suite 1 (America Mix-16) will be on view from August 9, 2019 through January 5, 2020.

Robert Rauschenberg Screenprints and Collage at VFA

One of the finest examples of Robert Rauschenberg’s use of photography in his work is the Statue of Liberty from the New York, New York Series, done in 1983. The serene colors and composition capture the essence of the statue, and of the city, not the usual depiction of New York.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the works of Robert Rauschenberg available at VFA.

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