Outside the Box
Rauschenberg rare and experimental
Jim Kempner Fine Art presents Outside the Box: Rare, Experimental and Groundbreaking work from Four Decades. The exhibition features a selection of Robert Rauschenberg’s prints and multiples from a number of different series spanning the 1960s thru the 1990s. The selection showcases Rauschenberg’s unique and experimental approach to his art by way of materials used (i.e.fabric, clay, cardboard), imagery and his startlingly original processes. Outside the Box will open on May 4th and continue through June 18th, 2017. An opening reception will be held on Thursday, May 4th from 6-8 pm.
When Tatyana Grossman, the founder of ULAE (Universal Limited Art Editions) approached Rauschenberg in the early 60s about making original lithographs, he said “the second half of the twentieth century is no time to begin drawing on stones”. Luckily for us, he was coaxed by her charm and persistence. By 1962 Rauschenberg began experimenting on lithographic stones. A friend who worked at the New York Times gave him old printers’ mats which Rauschenberg transferred onto the litho stone. These contemporary images were used along with direct mark making on the stone to create his first prints that seemed to bridge the space between abstract expressionism and Pop Art. abs other artists would use abstract marks. Those early editions gave us some of the most immediate and successful post-war American prints that exist. We are thrilled to have an impression of the 1965 lithograph, Post Rally, as well as the 4 “Dante’s Inferno” lithos which were used to make the larger print.
Rauschenberg’s use of newspaper imagery continued into the next decade, as seen in Platter (1974) and Room Service (1974), multiple fabric works from the Airport Series. The newspaper page, both right reading and reversed, along with the use of intaglio and relief printing processes characterize the Airport Series. A Wall Street Journal page was used for Platter, printed onto layered pieces of blue satin, white cotton, and cheesecloth. Although Rauschenberg had used fabric since the 1950s as part of his combine paintings, the Airport Suite consisted of his first multiples on fabric, and his first intaglios. This series, printed at Rauschenberg’s studio in Captiva, FL, was the first Graphicstudio project to be produced off-site.
Bellini V (1989) is part of the Bellini series, photogravures published by ULAE. The series combines imagery from the small panel paintings of the Virtues by Venetian Renaissance artist Giovanni Bellini with Rauschenberg’s own contemporary city images.
Pegasits (1990) is a mixed media composition with screenprint, wax, and polished steel with a painted wood chair. The piece is from the Rauschenberg Overseas Cultural Interchange (ROCI) project. ROCI (pronounced “Rocky,” the name of the artist’s pet turtle) was an international traveling show dedicated to human rights and the freedom of artistic expression. The ideas for the ROCI USA works originated when Rauschenberg and Don Saff, the project’s artistic coordinator, visited Kuala Lumpur Malaysia, a region known for its enormous tin reserves. Rauschenberg was fascinated by the crumpled metallic tin roofs of old homes there, and began experimenting with Saff by screenprinting images with wax on metal. Rauschenberg’s resulting Wax Fire Works were first shown at the National Gallery of Art in May 1991. Rauschenberg said the glistening surfaces “represented a kind of garish quality of American life.” The reflective surface is an analogy to the way America assimilated outside reflections.