Monday, December 26, 2005

Robert Rauschenberg: Beauty in the Discard

The Robert Rauschenberg exhibit is up now at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NY. Curated by Paul Schimmel of MoCA LA, the exhibit will come to LA later in 2006. I cannot wait!

In 1986 (-ish?) I saw numerous pieces from the MOCA collection of Rauschenberg's work that were at the time, housed in the now known Geffen Contemporary, in the then known Temporary Contemporary (aka "The TC").

Good Times: I was young & motivated, influenced, awed & amazed, a little eccentric, emotional & very much in love with detritus. I felt a connection with Rauschenberg's love affair with found objects too, his knowledge of finding beauty in the discard & his use of them in his art. My romantic notions made me fantasize that we were kindred spirits.

His mixed media sculpture, called "combines", rose out of the height of Abstract Expressionism (the influence is evident in his paintings of the 50's). As well as the paper elements; photos, newspaper, letters & cardboard that can be seen in contemporary collage since the early 1920's. He built upon traditional collage even further, adding chickens, goats, brooms. His color palette was surprisingly fresh at times, such as Minutiae, with the use of red, pink, orange & blue, whereas the earlier paintings were very very '50's in the use of neutrals, browns,tans, grey & black.

As quoted in this December 23 2005 NY Times newspaper article, "I really feel sorry for people who think things like soap dishes or mirrors or Coke bottles are ugly, because they're surrounded by things like this all day long, and it must make them miserable."

For further reading: Rauschenberg American Masters

  bookstore revisited: a curated bookstore of delightful and compelling things