Tuesday, May 13, 2008

next levelsville: RAUSCHENBERG

Robert Rauschenberg's combines are not, to use Marcel Duchamp's term, retinal. The eye isn't seduced by them, the way it is by, say Monet. They require a little bit of work. You must invest time into looking at them and then hope for a reward. "His esthetic garrulousness often turns his work into a department store: something scanned, not studied," wrote Jerry Saltz. The combines are modern art at its messiest, its most challenging, its most rewarding -- and its most human.
The combines are where Rauschenberg chewed up the first 60 years of modern art and spit out something completely new. They extend the third dimension that collage brought to cubism, channel the theatrical chaos of dada into objects, wring the subconscious, psychosexual gestures out of surrealism (those squeezed tubes everywhere, the white phallus penetrating the Twombly-esque squiggles on Rebus), explode the concerted, conceited messiness of ab-ex and come out the other side with assemblages that spawned two or three generations of descendants. (Have you seen this year's Whitney Biennial?!?)
[taken from artsjournal.com]

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