21 May - 17 Sep 2017
Photograph of Robert Rauschenberg’s Pelican (1963) as performed in a former CBS television studio, New York, during the First New York Theater Rally, May 1965. © Barbara Moore/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY, courtesy Paula Cooper Gallery, New York.
21 May – 17 September 2017
In 1959, Robert Rauschenberg wrote, “Painting relates to both art and life. Neither can be made. (I try to act in that gap between the two.)” His work in this gap shaped artistic practice for decades to come.
The early 1950s, when Rauschenberg (1925–2008) launched his career, was the heyday of the heroic gestural painting of Abstract Expressionism. Rauschenberg challenged this tradition with an egalitarian approach to materials, bringing the stuff of the everyday world into his art. Working alone and in collaboration with artists, dancers, musicians, and writers, he invented new, interdisciplinary modes of artistic practice that helped set the course for art of the present day. The ethos that permeates Rauschenberg’s work—openness, commitment to dialogue and collaboration, and global curiosity—makes him, now more than ever, a touchstone for our troubled times.
Robert Rauschenberg: Among Friends, the first 21st-century retrospective of the artist, presents work from six decades of his widely celebrated career in fresh ways, bringing together over 250 paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, photographs, and sound and video recordings. Acclaimed artist and filmmaker Charles Atlas is collaborating on the exhibition’s design to foreground Rauschenberg’s work with dance and performance. MoMA’s presentation is structured as an “open monograph”—as other artists came into Rauschenberg’s creative life, they come into the exhibition, mapping the exchange of ideas. These figures include John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Sari Dienes, Jasper Johns, Billy Klüver, Yvonne Rainer, Paul Taylor, David Tudor, Cy Twombly, Susan Weil, and many others.
The exhibition is organized by The Museum of Modern Art, New York, and Tate Modern, London.
Organized by Leah Dickerman, The Marlene Hess Curator of Painting and Sculpture, The Museum of Modern Art, and Achim Borchardt-Hume, Director of Exhibitions at Tate Modern, with Emily Liebert and Jenny Harris, Curatorial Assistants, Department of Painting and Sculpture, The Museum of Modern Art. The exhibition design was created in collaboration with the artist Charles Atlas.