Process: Rauschenberg + Warhol

Catherine Harmon
Oct 19, 2014 6:51PM

“Screwing things up is a virtue. Being correct is never the point... Being right can stop all the momentum of a very interesting idea.” - Robert Rauschenberg, quoted in The Constant Art of Being a Writer


For my Robert Rauschenberg Emerging Curator Competition Proposal, I propose an exhibition, entitled Process: Rauschenberg + Warhol, which would feature six works from the Robert Rauschenberg and four prints by Andy Warhol.  Both artists are known to use innovative, nontraditional methods of art-creation which could have stemmed, to some extent, from their dyslexia. In the quote above, Rauschenberg is summarizing his art-making philosophy, which embraces the trial and error process in his work. In this exhibition, I want to explore how Rauschenberg and Warhol experimented with nontraditional methods and materials in order to realize their work.


By focusing on the experimental nature behind Rauschenberg’s body of work, I believe that the artist utilized his dyslexia in his art creation. From my personal experience with the disorder, I know that it forces people to become creative problem solvers from early on in life.  Rauschenberg may have had access to a well of creativity in part due to a dyslexic perspective.

Experimentation was a large part of his process, which were especially conceived within his Combines series during the 1950’s. While developing connections to Rauschenberg, I decided to weave in fellow printmaker Andy Warhol’s work. Warhol was not only an artist, but an undiagnosed dyslexic as well. An illness-riddled childhood kept him out of school, which may have contributed to his rumored illiteracy. Therefore, his innovations in the art world could be to some extent credited to his brain’s unique processing system.

Featured Works

Robert Rauschenberg

Untitled (double Rauschenberg), 1950.

Erased de Kooning Drawing, 1953.

Bed, 1955.

Coca-Cola Plan, 1958.

Booster, 1967.

Stop Side Early Glut, 1987.

Andy Warhol

Soup Can, Vegetarian Vegetable, 1964.

Self Portrait, 1967.

Marilyn, 1967.

Double Elvis, 1963/1967.

Target Audience and Exhibition Context

This exhibition would take place on the campus of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis in the galleries located inside the Herron School of Art and Design. The main gallery at Herron would be an ideal spot, as it has a considerable amount of foot traffic and would attract a wide audience of undergraduate and graduate level art students, faculty, the local art community, and Indianapolis residents.


Process: Rauschenberg + Warhol would have unique programming opportunities available from the university and from community partners, like Access Indy, a local program that promotes accessibility in cultural spaces. In addition to the art school and the Museum Studies department, I will have support from my professor, Dr. Mark L. Smith, whose PhD dissertation is on the prints of Robert Rauschenberg, for  potential lectures.


I believe that this exhibition would promote organic discussion and would be an influential asset for future artists to witness. Thank you for taking the time to consider my proposal and for the Foundation to organize such a creative opportunity for fresh professionals to experience.

Catherine Harmon