Rauschenberg Foundation student gallery proposal

Jack Lipoff
Oct 14, 2014 7:37PM

Robert Rauschenberg was an influential and talented artist within the Neo-Dada movement. His abstract expressionist work influenced the pop art movement, which was famous for its combined use of pop culture symbols with modern abstract art. He worked as an artist in various media until his death in 2008, with a career spanning more than half of a century. The fact that he worked until a very old age without slowing down shows how both creative and hardworking an artist he was. To celebrate Rauschenberg’s work, the following gallery exhibit made up of a selection of his works as well as that of other abstract expressionists has been assembled.

A piece both complex and aesthetically attractive, Rauschenberg’s Windward would be an excellent choice for the exhibit. Its mix of images relating to American life is exemplary of much of his work, which was often created with the use of varied forms to show facets of life and art together. Another great example of Rauschenberg’s work is his piece from 1994 titled Space (Tribute 21). The astronaut free-floating above Earth juxtaposed with other planets leaves an astounding impression of isolation and wonder. The gritty tears in the image also add a sense of precariousness and danger to the condition of the subject. These elements certainly leave strong impressions on the viewer.

An excellent piece by another abstract expressionist author, Ray Johnson’s 1976 work Untitled (Andy Warhol with Photo Early 20th Century Woman) is a fascinating choice for display with Rauschenberg’s art. Its style is very reminiscent of Rauschenberg’s work with combines. At the same time, it shows style from the pop art movement as well.

One last choice for display is an untitled piece by Jasper Johns from 1992. Johns has been compared with Rauschenberg frequently, and the similarity of their style is apparent. This piece in particular is a phenomenal lithograph painting with varied but recognizable forms. The brushwork is loose yet at the same time not without precision. It’s an interesting amalgamation of real world subjects mixed with a non-objective background.

This gallery exhibit, while small, would be an excellent way for viewers to enjoy some valuable examples of Rauschenberg’s artwork while also displaying works to compliment his work. It would be enlightening for both seasoned art connoisseurs as well as those new to enjoying modern art to see artwork that is abstract without being inaccessible to viewers, which would only help to celebrate Robert Rauschenberg’s style of work. 

Jack Lipoff