Robert Rauschenberg, ‘Banco, from Ground Rules’, 1996, Zane Bennett Contemporary Art
Robert Rauschenberg, ‘Banco, from Ground Rules’, 1996, Zane Bennett Contemporary Art
Robert Rauschenberg, ‘Banco, from Ground Rules’, 1996, Zane Bennett Contemporary Art
Robert Rauschenberg, ‘Banco, from Ground Rules’, 1996, Zane Bennett Contemporary Art
Robert Rauschenberg, ‘Banco, from Ground Rules’, 1996, Zane Bennett Contemporary Art
Robert Rauschenberg, ‘Banco, from Ground Rules’, 1996, Zane Bennett Contemporary Art
Robert Rauschenberg, ‘Banco, from Ground Rules’, 1996, Zane Bennett Contemporary Art
Robert Rauschenberg, ‘Banco, from Ground Rules’, 1996, Zane Bennett Contemporary Art
Robert Rauschenberg, ‘Banco, from Ground Rules’, 1996, Zane Bennett Contemporary Art
Robert Rauschenberg, ‘Banco, from Ground Rules’, 1996, Zane Bennett Contemporary Art
Robert Rauschenberg, ‘Banco, from Ground Rules’, 1996, Zane Bennett Contemporary Art
Robert Rauschenberg, ‘Banco, from Ground Rules’, 1996, Zane Bennett Contemporary Art
Robert Rauschenberg, ‘Banco, from Ground Rules’, 1996, Zane Bennett Contemporary Art
Robert Rauschenberg, ‘Banco, from Ground Rules’, 1996, Zane Bennett Contemporary Art
Robert Rauschenberg, ‘Banco, from Ground Rules’, 1996, Zane Bennett Contemporary Art
Robert Rauschenberg, ‘Banco, from Ground Rules’, 1996, Zane Bennett Contemporary Art
Robert Rauschenberg, ‘Banco, from Ground Rules’, 1996, Zane Bennett Contemporary Art
Robert Rauschenberg, ‘Banco, from Ground Rules’, 1996, Zane Bennett Contemporary Art
Robert Rauschenberg, ‘Banco, from Ground Rules’, 1996, Zane Bennett Contemporary Art
Robert Rauschenberg, ‘Banco, from Ground Rules’, 1996, Zane Bennett Contemporary Art

"Very quickly, a painting is turned into a facsimile of itself," said Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008). "One becomes so familiar with it that one recognizes it without looking at it." He could've been talking about Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa, which makes a cameo in his 1996 intaglio print Banco, from Ground Rules. The portrait is so rooted in the modern cultural consciousness that we can instantly conjure it in our mind's eye.

Thus, it's a perfect tool for exploring the concept of authorship: the painting appears next to a window emblazoned with the words "YOUR NAME HERE." By presenting the world's most iconic painting beside advertising lingo, the postmodern master asks whether true ownership of an image is possible in the age of mass media.

Banco is from a 1997 series of intaglio etchings called Ground Rules. After experimenting with vegetable dye transfers, Rauschenberg applied existing photo-developing processes to intaglio printmaking, thereby creating a new print making technique. As a result, certain images appear to a greater or lesser degree. As Rauschenberg has said of this technique, he was "more or less painting with light," creating entire pictures with one motion of a brush over a latent image.

The piece has beautiful, subtle tonal and textural variations, with forms fading in and out of focus - sometimes imperceptibly merging into neighboring images. Colors, too, blend delicately into one another, allowing for a complex range of opacity as the white of the paper interacts with the vividly colored inks.

Series: Ground Rules

Publisher: Gemini GEL

About Robert Rauschenberg

Robert Rauschenberg’s enthusiasm for popular culture and, with his contemporary Jasper Johns, his rejection of the angst and seriousness of the Abstract Expressionists led him to search for a new way of painting. A prolific innovator of techniques and mediums, he used unconventional art materials ranging from dirt and house paint to umbrellas and car tires. In the early 1950s, Rauschenberg was already gaining a reputation as the art world’s enfant terrible with works such as Erased de Kooning Drawing (1953), for which he requested a drawing (as well as permission) from Willem de Kooning, and proceeded to rub away the image until only ghostly marks remained on the paper. By 1954, Rauschenberg completed his first three-dimensional collage paintings—he called them Combines—in which he incorporated discarded materials and mundane objects to explore the intersection of art and life. “I think a picture is more like the real world when it’s made out of the real world,” he said. In 1964 he became the first American to win the International Grand Prize in Painting at the Venice Biennale. The 1/4 Mile or Two Furlong Piece (1981–98), a cumulative artwork, embodies his spirit of eclecticism, comprising a retrospective overview of his many discrete periods, including painting, fabric collage, sculptural components made from cardboard and scrap metal, as well as a variety of image transfer and printing methods.

American, 1925-2008, Port Arthur, Texas, based in New York and Captiva Island, Florida