Erasing the Rules is a fitting title for Robert Rauschenberg's artwork, on exhibit at SFMOMA until March 25th. Except it looks like Rauschenberg never needed to subscribe to art conventions or constraints at all. Ignoring rules and creating inventive combinations of unusual materials is a big part of what Rauschenberg is most known for. His work broke boundaries and delved into ground-breaking experimentation incorporating "found" objects, even animal taxidermy, and layers of traditional mediums like paint and collage into art of all kinds. Rauschenberg described many of his pieces as "Combines", a combination of sculpture, paint and everyday things. "From the 1940s until his passing in 2008, Rauschenberg worked with everything from photography to items scavenged from New York City streets to vats of bubbling mud. More than 150 of Rauschenberg’s artworks, including prints, sculptures, paintings, and Combines will be on view in the retrospective Robert Rauschenberg: Erasing the Rules, celebrating the artist’s continual experimentation with materials and collaborative working processes." (SFMOMA)
Amidst Rauschenberg's unusual modern art, like the industrial tank of gurgling mud, you'll also find bright pop-art-like pieces that capture poignant historical moments. "In Retroactive I (1963), what appears to be a collaged newspaper is in fact a screenprint of John F Kennedy, made shortly before his assassination. Unbeknownst to Rauschenberg, the image would go on to have a deeper, tragic quality. The work is populated by colorful images of a parachuting astronaut, a glass of water, and a close-up of JFK’s hand pointing at the viewer. Taking in this flood of dissimilar images mimics the act of flipping through television channels or a wide-circulation print magazine – both media that defined the cultural moment in which Rauschenberg lived." (The Guardian)
As the curator Gary Garrels describes Rauschenberg: “He was the great manipulator of images and the great omnivore of images,” saying that the artist’s ability to integrate pop culture into art historical cemented his legacy as a master mid-century conceptualist. (Guardian).
BarkerBlue partnered with SFMOMA to create and install the large vinyl wall displays of Rauschenberg's photos and artwork. BarkerBlue specializes in all kinds of environmental graphic displays, including museum displays, retail signage, trade show displays, and corporate environmental graphics in reception areas, meeting rooms, and beyond. Learn more at www.barkerbluecreate.com