After Robert Rauschenberg

Luis Armando Colina
Oct 3, 2014 8:37AM

Mud Muse is the only work by Robert Rauschenberg that I've included into the exhibition. The continuous erupting of earth and its sound can stand in for Rauschenberg's relentless energy as well as the generation of new ideas based on his influence. All the works chosen were made after Mud Muse by artists that share a similar worldview as he did, and each can be linked to different periods in Rauschenberg's life and work.

After Mud Muse, a footprint is made, Antoni Tapies'  work, with his approach to materials and attitude towards art making is so much like Rauschenberg, and Tapies' Incarnation of the Foot can take the place for Rauschenberg's print Canto XIV.

Brice Marden's Cold Mountain 6 (Bridge) connects everything, both western and eastern thought, all times. The painting references the generation of action painting before Rauschenberg and mirrors his love of the expressive painterly mark from that time, and there’s also the history of his early years at Black Mountain College as a young art student, and then the mentor-apprentice relationship with Marden later on. 

Wangechi Mutu's use of photography from all types of media in her paintings, such as in The Bride Who Married a Camel’s Head,  is not unlike Rauschenberg own use of collage. Mutu and Williams's social-politically charged works are statements of freedom, which I believe he stood for. And there is also another bride, Marcel Duchamp’s own painting, The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even (The Large Glass), a huge influence on Rauschenberg own work.

Around the same time Rauschenberg was working in New York, Joan Jonas was pioneering film and performance work. Double Luna Dogs has Jonas and another woman painting, as she narrates about dualities. The other video piece is by Bruce Nauman, whose artistic practice, like filming the everyday mundane occurrences of his studio, and even a reference to John Cage in the works title, couldn’t be without Rauschenberg. Katharina Grosse channels him by transforming painting into sculpture by creating an entire environment out of an abstract expressionist painting.

Dan Colen's own Collection painting is for his friend and collaborator the photographer Dash Snow. The imprinting left by Ana Mendetia's body and Cai Guo-Qiang’s massive gun powder painting recall the Booster print and Rauschenberg’s other large prints respectively. Felix Gonzales’ photograph represents Rauschenberg's Bed painting, as well as his own personal photographs of the artists he had intimate relationships with.

Rauschenberg’s constant reflecting of his time through art is shared in Olafur Eliasson and Maya Lin's environmentally conscious works of art, created based on the states of our world today.

Finally the sounds of Mud Muse are absorbed by Jenni C Jones' acoustic panel, which are reminiscent of Rauschenberg's own early black paintings.

These are seven men and women that echo Rauschenberg and one another; from his interdisciplinary art practice, to the innovative use of material, along with having a concern for causing change through the making of art that is for expanding and healing the consciousness of our world.

Luis Armando Colina