Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, Artsy Announce Winner of Emerging Curator Competition

Robert Rauschenberg Foundation
Dec 8, 2014 3:22PM

Student Nicole Bray of the Sotheby’s Institute of Art will curate a Rauschenberg exhibition as part of the awarded fellowship at the Rauschenberg Foundation

New York, NY — The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation and Artsy announced today that Nicole Bray has won the Robert Rauschenberg Emerging Curator Competition. With support from the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, Bray will receive a fellowship with the foundation to mount a Rauschenberg exhibition in New York. 

“This recognition from the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation and Artsy is a true honor,” said Bray. “In my own life, I’ve been inspired by Rauschenberg’s willingness to dwell in the unfamiliar. I walked away from a successful business career to pursue my love of the arts, taking the path of the unknown and having faith in whatever the outcome may be. Bob’s courage, combined with his generosity and commitment to cultivating young artists, is what motivates me as I embark on my new career in the art world.”

Born in Perth, Western Australia, and now living in Brooklyn, Bray began studying art following a career in advertising. She is currently a student in the Masters of Contemporary Art program at Sotheby’s Institute of Art, New York, where her thesis focuses on the work of Robert Rauschenberg. Bray’s winning proposal for the Robert Rauschenberg Emerging Curator Competition was inspired by the Rauschenberg Overseas Cultural Interchange (ROCI) project. Bray argues that the themes of ROCI remain as relevant today as they were when first conceived in 1984. 

While Bray will curate a “live” Rauschenberg exhibition in New York, she proposes a parallel interactive exhibition with social media as a platform to engage young contemporary artists from around the world with Rauschenberg’s work. Bray writes that in the spirit of ROCI, “Artists will be invited to share digital submissions of their artworks inspired by Rauschenberg’s aspirations to promote peace and tolerance through art.” An online exhibition developed from Bray’s proposal is viewable here:

“The Robert Rauschenberg Emerging Curator Competition is directly in line with our mission to expand access to Rauschenberg’s work in a pioneering way,” said Christy MacLear, Executive Director of the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation. “This effort calls upon a global community of students and incentivizes them to view Rauschenberg in a broader context alongside other artists, while fostering digital scholarship in innovative ways. “

To compete, students were asked to create an online exhibition proposal by selecting from more than 40,000 images from Artsy’s 350 museum and institutional partners, including a brief explanatory essay. Entrants selected images of artworks from a number of the world’s foremost art institutions via Artsy’s website to illustrate the text and elucidate the concept. The competition attracted 138 thought-provoking submissions from five continents, thirteen countries, and seventy-eight cities, including Buenos Aires, Hong Kong, London, Melbourne, Mexico City, Milan, and Moscow. Four finalists were selected by five leading figures in the art world: John Elderfield, Branden W. Joseph, Shirin Neshat, Christopher Rauschenberg, and Sarah Roberts. The public selected the winner from the top four by voting on social media. 

Christine Kuan, Chief Curator and Director of Strategic Partnerships at Artsy, said, “Artsy collaborates with important museums and nonprofit organizations to foster the next generation’s passion for and commitment to the preservation of art. The widespread engagement with students from five continents in this emerging curator project demonstrates the incredible educational reach that is possible with digital technology.” 

“It was wonderful to see such a wide range of fascinating proposals,” said John Elderfield, Chief Curator Emeritus of Painting and Sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. “It is a pity that we will only be able to experience one student-curated Rauschenberg exhibition, because a number of the proposals would make for terrific exhibitions.”

“The Emerging Curator Competition spotlights the necessity of artists, artists’ estates, foundations, and museums making artworks fully available online with accurate information and images,” said Sarah Roberts, competition judge and Andrew W. Mellon Associate Curator of Painting and Sculpture at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. “The first encounter that many people—from the public to scholars and curators—will have with a work of art will be online, and digital accessibility is essential to ensuring that an artist’s work and legacy will remain active in the cultural conversation and be found by researchers combing the web for artworks to include in articles, curricula, and exhibitions.”

About the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation:

The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation fosters the legacy of the artist’s life, work, and philosophy that art can change the world. The foundation supports initiatives at the intersection of arts and issues, which embody the fearlessness, innovation, and multidisciplinary approach that Robert Rauschenberg exemplified in both his art and philanthropic endeavors. In the last year, the foundation has broadened its grant portfolio from seven legacy organizations to ninety-five, boundary-pushing grantees across the country; converted Rauschenberg’s home and studio in Florida into a dynamic residency program for both emerging and recognized artists; loaned his artwork to thirty-seven exhibitions and museums around the globe; and donated over one hundred works of art to leading museums and cultural centers across the United States. 

About Artsy

Artsy is the leading resource for art collecting and education. Artsy provides free access via its website ( and iPhone app to international exhibitions, museum collections, galleries, art fairs, curated sales, and benefit auctions. It currently features over 230,000 images of art and architecture by 30,000 artists from over 2,500 leading galleries and over 350 museum and institutional partners, which includes the world’s largest online database of contemporary art. Artsy's encyclopedic database spans historical works, such as the Rosetta Stone and the Colosseum, to modern and contemporary works by artists such as Pablo Picasso, Willem de Kooning, Richard Serra, Lucien Smith., Sarah Lucas, and Cindy Sherman. Powered by The Art Genome Project, a classification system that maps the connections between artists and artworks, Artsy fosters new generations of art lovers, museum-goers, patrons, and collectors.

Media Contact:

Nick Sifuentes, [email protected], 646-200-5321

Robert Rauschenberg Foundation