Rarely seen Rauschenberg works from highly experimental period presented in new exhibition

Discover Rarely Seen Works by an American Master at the
Vancouver Art Gallery this Summer:
Robert Rauschenberg 1965–1980

From Billboard-sized Prints to Intimate Drawings,
Exhibition Examines Highly Experimental Period of Rauschenberg’s Career


This summer, the Vancouver Art Gallery will present Robert Rauschenberg 1965–1980, an exhibition of important but rarely seen works by the prolific twentieth-century American artist, on view July 6 to October 27, 2019. Comprised primarily of works from the Gallery’s permanent collection, this presentation features notable prints, drawings, collages, sculptural works and large-scale fabric constructions from one of the most experimental periods of Rauschenberg’s career.

“The Vancouver Art Gallery is fortunate to count many significant works by important international artists in its permanent collection, and our considerable holdings of Robert Rauschenberg are a highlight,” says Daina Augaitis, Interim Director of the Vancouver Art Gallery. “Rauschenberg’s radical approach to art making blurred the lines between mediums, demonstrating his incredible ingenuity in mixing materials and imagery. We are pleased to share a selection of influential works by this artist, with a focus on his collages and mixed-media pieces from the 1960s and 1970s, many of which paved the way for his own thoughts around art making and inspired others to follow his experimental trajectory.”

Robert Rauschenberg (1925—2008), considered one of the most influential artists of his time, emerged from the movement of abstract expressionism, and “defined a new era of experimentation in American culture” (New York Times). Using everyday materials and the “stuff” of popular culture, he encouraged audiences to take a closer look at the intersection of art and life. Rauschenberg’s focus on everyday images and objects was in direct reaction to the aesthetics of abstraction that had dominated American art during the 1950s, and reflected the explosion in the circulation of images that characterized the postwar period, including the evolution of Pop Art, with which he is also associated. With its rising presence in contemporary life, his work also explored the role of mass media, borrowing from its repetition, serial imagery and subject matter as a means to deconstruct it.

This exhibition at Vancouver Art Gallery features a number of significant examples of Rauschenberg’s collages and multi-faceted prints. Such works combine newspaper and magazine clippings, material salvaged from the streets of New York, and his own photographs to create fragmented, layered compositions that unravel the cultural and political milieu of the time. Key works include Autobiography (1968), a monumental three-panel composition from the Gallery’s collection that represents the culmination of the aesthetics and methodologies that occupied Rauschenberg for a decade. The work, which details his biographical history through overlapping self-portraits and objects of personal significance, was the first fine art print made on a billboard press. Another important print is Sky Garden (1969), also from the Gallery’s collection, the largest work in his Stoned Moon series, which emerged from an invitation by NASA to witness the launch of the Apollo 11 Mission. Also included are examples of work Rauschenberg produced after relocating to Captiva Island, Florida, in 1971, when he began to investigate the natural and the handmade, and embrace a more overtly abstract aesthetic, as well as works that use fabric as a support for printed imagery.

Organized by the Vancouver Art Gallery and curated by Stephanie Rebick, Associate Curator.

Also to be previewed at the Vancouver Art Gallery on July 4:
Vikky Alexander: Extreme Beauty (July 6 to October 27, 2019)

This is the first retrospective of this important Canadian artist whose practice interrogates the mechanisms of display that shape meaning, beauty and desire in our culture. Comprising more than eighty works, Extreme Beauty examines the major themes that have occupied Alexander for more than three decades of her career, including the appropriated image, the artificiality of nature and the seduction of space.

For more information, visit vanartgallery.bc.ca

Robert Rauschenberg, Rush #10–The Cloister Series, 1980, transfer print on paper and fabric, Collection of the Vancouver Art Gallery, Permanent Collection Fund and Public Donations raised through Volunteer Committee, Photo: Robert Keziere, Vancouver Art Gallery

Media release and image provided by Hanah Van Borek, Vancouver Art Gallery.

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