:::this is the way the world ends:::

Rauschenberg 1926 – 2008

Robert Rauschenberg is dead. There is a good article at the NY Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/14/arts/design/14rauschenberg.html?_r=1&oref=slogin


  1. J.E.

    Here is an email that Liz’s Aunt, Tina Girouard sent out this week:

    “There are no coincidences.” William S. Burroughs

    David was thinking about Bob as death approached. On the 11th, he wrote one of Bob’s oldest pals:
    “No news of Bob. Tina and I ran into his sister Janet in Lafayette a couple weeks ago. She is as handsome as ever. Janet said travel was arduous for Bob. Bob is working and, according to Sid Felsen, she said, Bob is making his best work ever.”

    Throughout his life Bob brought much joy to all who knew him. Through his art, he brought and will forever bring joy into the lives of strangers. The revery inspired by news of his death is full of joy… his laughter rings in my head. If heaven is as literal as many believe, Bob has already poured a giant Jack Daniels and set to work on a dozen new art works. What a man!


    Below is a Louisiana article written by my friend, Herman Mhire, artist and curator.

    American Artist Robert Rauschenberg died yesterday, May 12, 2008. He was 82.

    The brother of Lafayette resident Janet Begneaud, Robert Rauschenberg was born Milton Rauschenberg on October 22, 1925, in Port Arthur, Texas. He began to study pharmacology at the University of Texas at Austin before being drafted into the United States navy, where he served as a neuropsychiatric technician in the navy hospital corps in San Diego. In 1947, he enrolled at the Kansas City Art Institute and traveled to Paris to study at the Académie Julian the following year.

    In the fall of 1948, he returned to the United States to study under Josef Albers at Black Mountain College, near Asheville, North Carolina, which he continued to attend intermittently through 1952. While taking classes at the Art Students League, New York, from 1949 to 1951, Rauschenberg was offered his first solo exhibition at the Betty Parsons Gallery. Some of the works from this period included blueprints, monochromatic white paintings, and black paintings.

    From the fall of 1952 to the spring of 1953, he traveled to Europe and North Africa with Cy Twombly, whom he had met at the Art Students League. During his travels, Rauschenberg worked on a series of small collages, hanging assemblages, and small boxes filled with found elements, which he exhibited in Rome and Florence.

    Upon his return to New York in 1953, Rauschenberg completed his series of black paintings, using newspaper as the ground, and began work on sculptures created from wood, stones, and other materials found on the streets; paintings made with tissue paper, dirt, or gold leaf; and more conceptually oriented works such as Automobile Tire Print (1953) and Erased de Kooning Drawing (1953).

    By the end of 1953, he had begun his Red Painting series on canvases that incorporated newspapers, fabric, and found objects and evolved in 1954 into the Combines, a term Rauschenberg coined for his well-known works that integrated aspects of painting and sculpture and would often include such objects as a stuffed eagle or goat, street signs, or a quilt and pillow. In late 1953, he met Jasper Johns, with whom he is considered the most influential of artists who reacted against Abstract Expressionism [more]. The two artists had neighboring studios, regularly exchanging ideas and discussing their work, until 1961.

    Rauschenberg began to silkscreen paintings in 1962. He had his first career retrospective, organized by the Jewish Museum, New York, in 1963 and was awarded the Grand Prize for Painting at the 1964 Venice Biennale. He spent much of the remainder of the 1960s dedicated to more collaborative projects including printmaking, Performance [more], choreography, set design, and art-and-technology works. In 1966, he cofounded Experiments in Art and Technology, an organization that sought to promote collaborations between artists and engineers.

    In 1970, Rauschenberg established a permanent residence and studio in Captiva, Florida. A retrospective organized by the National Collection of Fine Arts, Washington, D.C., traveled throughout the United States in 1976–78. Rauschenberg continued to travel widely, embarking on a number of collaborations with artisans and workshops abroad, which culminated in the Rauschenberg Overseas Culture Interchange (ROCI) project from 1985 to 1991. In 1997, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, exhibited the largest retrospective of Rauschenberg’s work to date, which traveled to Houston and to Europe in 1998.

    In 2005, the works of Robert Rauschenberg, along with those of his son Christopher, and his long-time associate Darryl Pottorf, were exhibited in the Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. The exhibition subsequently traveled to the Herron School of Art at Indiana University in Indianapolis and the Telfair Museum of Art in Savannah.

  2. J.E.

    Here is an interview with Charlie Rose in 1997.


  3. Ned

    Thanks for posting this interview. I had watched the interview in NY on PBS when it aired, but even more so the scenes in the Guggenheim brought back a lot of memories since that show was one of the first big things I saw after moving to NY to go to SVA (1997 was my first summer there). I remember liking the early work the best, but being disturbed by the chickens and goats put into the later work. I wonder if it would disturb me in the same way today. And I just saw the tremendous Cai Gou Qiang show there this spring when I took students. His gunpowder paintings were epic. So this brought on a interesting confluence of memories with the museum.

    I’m glad to feel that with the NY trip once a year I’m still creating some of those memories. Some other really good things I saw this year were the Paolo Ventura photographs at Hasted Hunt (and I was so lucky that they had one of his tiny, miraculous dioramas on display), a show of drawings and sculptures by Amy Cutler, a Jim Hodges sculpture, the Luc Tuymans show, a Diana Cooper show, and the Multiplex show at the MOMA. There was also a terrific small and stunning Sol Lewitt drawing done from an entire box of twleve Crayolas in a show called Color Chart. I guess there was more but I digress.
    Or maybe not.

  4. J.E.

    Ned: Have you changed your mind about coming to KC yet? I know there are complications, but we need you!

  5. Ned

    Thanks for the expression J.E. but I’m in a position now where I really can’t swing it for a myriad of reasons. Hope we can do it some time not too far off in the future.

  6. Shotts

    Ned–That’s too bad. Jen and I would be happy to have you ride down with us, if you could somehow swing it. We’ll have to understand if you can’t come, but let us know if you change your mind. Jen and I will start driving south from the Twin Cities probably around 10 am or so on Friday…

  7. J.E.

    Somehow there is just never enough Ned to go around.

  8. Tobias

    Wasn’t “Never Enough Ned to Go Around” on Billboard’s Top 40 during the 80’s?

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