In memory of . . .

Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008) was one of the last of a generation that changed the face of art forever. Read the New York Times article, which has some terrific stories and quotes like this one:

"I usually work in a direction until I know how to do it, then I stop,"
[he said in an interview.] "At the time that I am bored or
understand — I use those words interchangeably — another appetite has
formed. A lot of people try to think up ideas. I’m not one. I’d rather
accept the irresistible possibilities of what I can’t ignore."

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4 thoughts on “In memory of . . .”

  1. I had an interesting exchange with the art reviewer of the Baltimore Sun newspaper about the legacy of Rauschenberg yesterday. Thought some of you might enjoy seeing part of it (MICA is the Maryland Institute College of Art)- Hi Glenn, You quote Robert Hughes at the end of your Rauschenberg piece saying “Every artist after 1960 who challenged the restrictions of painting and sculpture and believed that all of life was open to art is indebted to Rauschenberg.” That part about all of life being open to art I like very much. When Rauschenberg was a young artist it was probably easier to find the commonly held ideas about painting and sculpture that restricted one’s potential. To his credit, he did manage to make large scale works that got three dimensional objects to work with their two dimensional backgrounds fairly well. (Though personally I always felt Joseph Cornell was a more sensitive artist doing the same thing earlier but on a more modest scale in his little wooden boxes). At MICA today one sees frequent installation work that stems from things Rauschenberg stirred up years ago. Some can be magical. Other times young artists seem to have picked up the tendency of Rauschenberg’s works to visually be uncoordinated and run far with it. You too must have had the experience where you’ve looked at an installation piece by a single artist and sworn you were looking at a group exhibition of works by artists who weren’t on speaking terms with each other. But you can’t really blame Rauschenberg for the less successful work by those he has influenced. I always wonder what will be the long term reputation of an artist like Rauschenberg. At MICA today there is a large neoclassic mural that festoons the space above the grand stairway in our big white marble Main Building. It shows a host of partly-clothed Greek goddesses accompanying the white European colonizers of early Maryland (indigenous people need not apply). It must have been commissioned around the time the building was erected around 1900. And probably the artist was prominent in his day, though I’d wager there isn’t a single person at MICA who could tell you the artist’s name, The universal sentiment now, that I share, is that it is pretty dreadful on a lot of levels. So Glenn, is Rauschenberg’s reputation going to fare better a hundred years from now than our unnamed muralist? Tell you what, let’s you and me exercise and watch our trans-fats and live to find out. Best regards, Philip Koch

  2. Michael Lynn Adams

    Both the art and graphic design world were greatly influenced by Robert Rauschenberg. My wife and I are both artists and designers and have been inspired by Rauschenberg’s work for years. Younger artists, especially those doing collage art, may not know the great debt their work owes to his paintings and prints. If you don’t know Robert Rauschenberg work, or even if you think you know, it would be a fitting tribute to him to take a fresh look at the creativity, richness and variety of his work.

  3. This has been a bit traumatic for me this week. Rauschenberg is my all time favorite artist. It was kind of ironic because I did a blog entry about DEATH on Monday. I didn’t know at that moment Rauschenberg had died. I just wanted to speak about artist’s legacies. I wrote another post yesterday in his honor. My sentiments are expressed there. Gosh. He was such a force. Sheree Rensel

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