“I thinkthat if you can turn off the mind and look only with the eyes, ultimately everything becomes abstract,” said Ellsworth Kelly (1923 – 2015).Kelly’s abstraction is rooted in the real world.His strong sense of form and color has often been tied to his time in the military, affinity for bird watching, and observations of nature. Although simplistic in imagery, Kelly’s work holds a certain tension.“I think what we all want from art is a sense of fixity, a sense of opposing the chaos of daily living,” said Kelly. “This an illusion, of course. Canvas rots. Paint changes color. In a sense, what I’ve tried to capture is the reality of flux, to keep art an open, incomplete situation, to get at the rapture ofseeing.”
Kelly was a pioneer of Color Field painting and minimalism whose influence extends across the second half the 20th century to the present.This is exemplified by the story behind Kelly’s Untitled (1983), a hand-signed lithograph that was included in the Eight by Eight to Celebrate the Temporary Contemporary suite. The portfolio features artwork by eight prominent artists, and was used as a fundraising vehicle for the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Los Angeles. The artists who participated were Kelly, Richard Diebenkorn, Sam Francis, David Hockney, Robert Rauschenberg, Niki de Saint Phalle, Jean Tinguely, and Andy Warhol. This iconic collection is a testament to the cultural milieu of the United States in the 1980’s. This is a rare opportunity to own a piece of this illustrious history.
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
“My whole area of art has always been addressed to working with other people,” said Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008). “Ideas are not real estate.” It’s this collaborative philosophy that inspired MoMA’s Robert Rauschenberg: Among Friends, the first retrospective of the American artist’s work in the 21st century. The museum calls the show an “open monograph,” with Rauschenberg’s work appearing alongside the art of his contemporaries. It’s a labyrinthine flow chart of ideas, which is also an apt way to describe his prints.
Just as Rauschenberg incorporated everyday objects into his iconic assemblages, he brought quotidian imagery crashing together through printmaking. He often incorporated his own photographs and found images, electrifying them with colorful, exuberant marks. In Rauschenberg’s prints, we sense his dual role as a disruptor of Abstract Expressionism and a progenitor of Pop Art. We’ve added two new prints by Rauschenberg to the Zane Bennett Contemporary collection. Scroll down to view Earth Day and Arcanum V, and click here to browse all of our artwork by Rauschenberg.
Robert Rauschenberg Arcanum V (from Arcanum Series), 1981
Color silkscreen with hand-coloring and collage on paper
Published and printed by Styria Studio, New York
#12 of 85
Signed and dated with edition in graphite lower right sheet; Styria
Studio blind stamp lower right sheet
Image/sheet: 22.5″ x 15.5″; Frame: 31.25″ x 24.25″
Robert Rauschenberg Earth Day, 1990
Color silkscreen and color pochoir on wove paper pencil
sheet: 64.25″ h x 42.75″ w overall (with frame): 68.25″ h x 46.5″ w
Rauschenberg was an avid environmental activist. In 1970, he created a print for the inaugural Earth Day. Twenty years later, he observed Earth Day 1990—which vaulted the celebration onto the world stage, with over 200 million participants—by creating this color silkscreen.