A 30 Year Retrospective 1978-2008
November 29, 2008 – January 31, 2009
The Center for Visual Communication celebrates the life and art of Robert Rauschenberg with the first major survey of our time’s most important visual artist since his death earlier this year.
The exhibition focuses on Rauschenberg’s prints as a window into the artist’s working methods and creative process. Nine major series of works are included in the show as complete sets including his last project “The Lotus Series” of 12 prints which are some of his most elegant and evocative works. This is the first time that these works will be exhibited together.
Rauschenberg changed the course of 20th century art by redefining the very concept of what art is. Always pushing the envelope of what was considered art; Rauschenberg invented his own methods and adapted emerging technologies to create his works. He used printmaking as a framework to express his ideas and explore new possibilities since his introduction to the medium in 1962 by Tanya Grossman and her legendary ULAE studio in Long Island. His strategies of blending and juxtaposing image, content and concept matured in the printmaking studio. He carried these ideas to his painting and sculpture while continuing to surprise.
Rauschenberg‘s enthusiasm for our commonly shared experiences and the objects that surround us formed the basis of a new genre of art. Throughout all his work he invites us to appreciate the things, people and spaces that are part of our everyday lives. In the printmaking studio he melded images from popular culture, newspapers and television into a rich and fluid medium that crossed painting, printmaking, photography and sculpture. Using this new visual genre he was able to evoke the rhythm and music of life through the reflection, repetition, position and color of visual elements.
So universal was this new realm of visual communication that in 1985 he embarked on a self funded international tour, Rauschenberg Overseas Culture Interchange, (ROCI) to promote world peace and understanding through art. Through ROCI Rauschenberg produced some of the most formidable works of his career including the monumental Soviet American Array prints, all seven of which are included in the exhibition. This groundbreaking suite expanded the boundaries of printmaking through their large scale, powerful presence and cross-cultural connections. Other series’ in the exhibition include the richly colored and iconic Bellini editions (1987-1989) which have been rarely seen together, the Voznesensky suite (1978), Glacial Decoy Series (1979-1980) and The Razorback Bunch (1981-1982).
Rauschenberg is credited with pushing 20th century art beyond Abstract Expressionism into representation and pop art by showing how art can engage the everyday. His works are central to the collections of virtually every major international museum. His influence on later generations of artists is widely acknowledged by those who have carried his ideas forward in the realms of printmaking, digital imaging, photography, installation art, assemblage and the art of appropriation.
The exhibition, comprised of 70 works, has been organized to coincide with Art Basel Miami Beach and will continue on display through January 31, 2009. The Center for Visual Communication is grateful to the Robert Rauschenberg Revocable Trust and to ULAE for their cooperation in making the exhibition possible.