Rauschenberg's Combinatorial Meaning

Marci Icram
Oct 11, 2014 6:22PM

Robert Rauschenberg was an innovative and influential artist whose career spanned decades, inspiring the continued experimentation with artist media and social boundaries. His use of a variety of subjects, media, and other collaborators ensured that his works were always toeing the line and presenting artistic expression as a means of self-expression. Rauschenberg’s vast body of works reflect his desire to reveal his—and humanity’s—deepest emotions and insecurities, presenting them in the vivid dream-like quality of our inner psyches.


This exhibition will mostly revolve around the 3-dimensional works of Rauschenberg, as well as his contemporaries and collaborators, illustrating how each influenced the other. The focus on 3-dimensional works is intended to bolster multimedia interactivity on the internet and provide users with the ability to virtually explore 3-dimensional works in an intimate way unheard of in physical gallery spaces. Patrons are warned in a number of ways to Stay Back from or Not Touch art objects, creating a distance between artwork and viewer.


The key component of this exhibition will be interactive features that allow users to both rotation and magnify 3-dimensional images of sculptural works. Users will be able to click on a 3-dimensionally rendered image, which was taken using a handheld digital scanner, and can then either rotate the object to view all angles, magnify specific portions of the object to see more detail, or double-click on a portion of the object to gain access to a menu of other options. For example, if a user is looking at Rauschenberg’s combine titled Monogram, then they will be able to click on the car tire and zoom in on it to see the tire treads or double-click the stuffed goat to access the map that shows where the artist acquired the found object.


The works for this exhibition highlight an artists’ use of 3-dimensional media and standard museum practices, allowing users to fully immerse themselves in the works of Rauschenberg and those influenced by him. Works of other artists will be incorporated based on how well their work related to Rauschenberg’s, as well as their professional and personal relationships with Rauschenberg. Josef Albers was chosen due to the fact that Rauschenberg once studied under him, although his style veered in the opposite direction. Cy Twombly, a lover and colleague of Rauschenberg’s, was also chosen for their close relationship. The pair traveled abroad and did shows together, shaping each other’s work. Likewise, Jasper Johns is included for the couple’s provocative professional and romantic relationship. Other contemporary artists were also chosen that reflect a continued adherence to the processes and values portrayed by Rauschenberg and his collaborators.

Works in the Exhibition:

1.      Monogram (1955-1959) by Robert Rauschenberg

2.      Oracle (1962-1965) by Robert Rauschenberg

3.      Trophy IV (for John Cage) (1961) by Robert Rauschenberg

4.      Jasper—Studio N.Y.C. (1958) by Robert Rauschenberg

5.      Merce (1953) by Robert Rauschenberg

6.      Cy + Roman Steps (I-V) (1952) by Robert Rauschenberg

7.      Flag (Moratorium) (1969) by Jasper Johns

8.      Target with Plaster Casts (1978-1980) by Jasper Johns

9.      Variant/Adobe (1947) by Josef Albers

10.  Untitled (Rome)  (1977) by Cy Twombly

11.  Robert Rauschenberg Combine Material Fulton St. Studio, 1954 (NYC) (1954) by Cy Twombly

12.  Too Too – Much Much (2010) by Thomas Hirschhorn

13.  Untitled (bicycle shower) (2010) by Rirkrit Tiravanija

Marci Icram