Robert Rauschenberg at MoMA and the Movies

Robert Rauschenberg at MoMA

The MoMA exhibit Rauschenberg: Among Friends includes over 250 works by the artist, which reflect his collaborative spirit during his sixty year career as an artist. The show will run through September 17.

The exhibit includes prints, drawings, photographs, audio and video recordings and even a work made of bubbling mud. Rauschenberg saw all materials and medium as potential works of art.

He used the word combine to describe many of the pieces he created that were both painting and sculpture. Publican Station VI and Change from Seven Characters, for sale at VFA, exemplify Rauschenberg’s unique technique and sensibility.

His collaborations with artists Jasper Johns, Cy Twombly, Jean Tinguely and others are well known and their works are on display alongside Rauschenberg’s. What may not be as well known is the influence Andy Warhol had on Rauschenberg’s work. It was Warhol who, in 1962, showed Rauschenberg how to incorporate collage elements into silk screen images, a technique that resulted in many of Rauschenberg’s most iconic works, like The Stoned Moon Series, for sale at VFA.

Robert Rauschenberg and Dance

The MoMA exhibit contains photographs of Rauschenberg’s collaborations with dancers Merce Cunningham, Paul Taylor and Trish Brown. He not only designed and made costumes and sets, but also choreographed and danced.

For a 1963 performance called Pelican, Rauschenberg, not a great dancer, but an enthusiastic performer, taught himself to roller skate, and performed in Pelican on roller skates and a parachute.

Robert Rauschenberg in Film

In 1964, Robert Rauschenberg became the first American, and at age thirty-nine, the youngest artists to win the top prize at the Venice Biennale.

There was a lot of controversy and dispute over Rauschenberg’s triumph. There was talk of a CIA plot and a rigged jury. The Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano called Rauschenberg’s win, “the total and general defeat of culture.”

A documentary about Rauschenberg’s success in Venice, and the unexpected consequences that followed, is the subject of a documentary called Americans in Venice: Robert Rauschenberg Rewrites the Rules, scheduled to be released in March 2018.

The film combines archival footage with interviews conducted at this years Biennale. Producer and director Amei Wallach said, “The film puts in context a moment of optimism and international outreach that seems particularly pertinent at this moment as an illumination of what art makes possible and what soft power can do. The electrifying footage we shot in Venice this spring will bridge past and present to explore the meaning of art and globalism today.”

Robert Rauschenberg at VFA

Please contact us for more information about Pelican Station VI, Brake (from the Stoned Moon Series) or any of the other works of Robert Rauschenberg for sale at VFA.

See More Robert Rauschenberg Artwork for Sale

Rauschenberg’s Early Bloomer in the White House dining room

Rauschenberg Replaces Roosevelt in the White House

In a bold and beautiful move, President Obama and First Lady, Michelle, have updated the look of the White House with contemporary art, including Robert Rauschenberg’s Early Bloomer. Done in inkjet pigment transfer on polylaminate, Early Bloomer, is predominantly red, white and blue, with an American flag draped in the foreground. It now hangs on the wall of the family’s dining room, replacing a portrait of Theodore Roosevelt’s wife, Edith. Early Bloomer is a gift to the White House collection from the Rauschenberg Foundation.

Rauschenberg said that he, “had given up on politicians” but he would probably have been tickled to know that Early Bloomer was adorning the walls of the White House. He said that is was, “up to the artists to wage peace.” To that end, he founded the Rauschenberg Overseas Cultural Exchange (ROCI) and traveled to countries around the world to share ideas with other artists.

In 1982, Rauschenberg traveled to China, where artists were pushing back against government control and restrictive party politics. His idea was to collaborate with the papermakers at the Xuan Paper Mill in Jingxian. Rauschenberg was detained by the government for several days, before they allowed him to actually go to the mill.

His collaboration with the Chinese papermakers led to Rauschenberg’s creation of the Seven Chinese Character series. Two of the works from the series, Change and Howl are in the Vertu gallery at this time.

The series is made up of collages that represent seven Chinese characters. They are built on a base of thirty-ply paper and a layer of silk. Each character is in pulp relief, overlaid with thin, transparent paper. Rauschenberg finished each work by applying gold leaf and a cloth medallion.

Rauschenberg went to the United Nations in 1984 and spoke to over 100 diplomats and ambassadors about the vision he had for ROCI. He refused to sell any work when he was abroad, not wanting his project to perceived as a commercial enterprise, and supported ROCI by mortgaging his home on Captiva Island.

In 1985, Rauschenberg opened his ROCI show at the China National Art Gallery in Beijing, the first contemporary Western artist to have an exhibition in China. He payed for and installed the exhibit himself. The show included, not only the work he did in China, but also the work he did in while in Chile, Mexico and Venezuela. About 300,000 people attended the opening in Beijing.

In 1986, Rauschenberg was commissioned to design a cover for TIME magazine, to celebrate Deng Xiaoping, who led China to become more open to global exchange.

Rauschenberg would have been 90 this October. The Pace Gallery, in Manhattan, is celebrating his birthday with a retrospective that includes some rarely seen works, and the Tate Modern will be hosting another Rauschenberg retrospective next year.

Change, Howl and other great works by Robert Rauschenberg are available in our gallery.

Free Ebook: How to Identify and Buy Fine Art Prints

Free Ebook: How to Identify and Buy Fine Art Prints

We believe that the more you know, the more you will appreciate fine art prints.

In our Ebook you’ll learn:

  • A short history of prints from the earliest woodcut to contemporary processes
  • Which artists most influenced the making of fine art prints
  • What questions to ask when buying prints
  • The fundamentals of print identification
  • Terms and techniques for identifying fine art prints
Learn More