“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 printBanco, 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. Learn more about the print below, and browse more works by Rauschenberg.
Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008) is having a moment—though you could argue that the postmodern provocateur has been en mode since the midcentury. In any case, the Museum of Modern Art’s blockbuster survey show Robert Rauschenberg: Among Friends recently closed in New York, and SFMOMA’s manifestation of the exhibition opens in late November. The new show is titled Robert Rauschenberg: Erasing the Rules, a reference to the artist’s legendary erasure of a Willem De Kooning drawing in the name of art. It was a seminal moment in his early career, but hardly characteristic of the work he would produce in the following decades.
Rauschenberg was a master of addition rather than subtraction, fearlessly layering a vast arsenal of bizarre materials to create sculptural paintings, painted sculptures and three-dimensional drawings that he referred to as “Combines.” Cock Sure, a mixed-media print that he produced with Pace in the 1990’s, represents a late chapter of his persistent experimentation. “Cock Sure is an extension of his curiosity, applying paint directly onto the glass surface, increasing the depth of the work so that it became three-dimensional,” wrote Art Daily. “The work is characteristically by Rauschenberg as seen through the inclusion of everyday images: an open sign, chickens, a windmill, and a dog resting by a brick wall.” Scroll down to view more works by Rauschenberg in the Zane Bennett Contemporary collection.
Robert Rauschenberg Arcanum VIII
22.5 x 15.5 in
Robert Rauschenberg Arcanum V
color silkscreen with hand-coloring and collage on paper
22.5 x 15.5 in