Tuesday, May 13, 2008

robert RAUSCHENBERG, my favorite painter, died yesterday

i was blessed enough to meet and greet my hero at his last nyc opening in january, where his wished me the best of luck with my work. it remains the most amazing-albeit short lived- conversation i have ever had (hell, possibly will ever have).

rauschenberg's work from the late 50's and early 60's is by far my greatest influence as a painter. his combines are incredible; the layering, the color palette, the freedom and slight of hand, the use of pop culture and of found objects, are combined to create an entirely unique and genuinely exciting piece of visual art. he managed to establish a remarkably individualistic impression on the art world by colliding the sculptural and found object ideals of duchamp and joseph cornell with the slap happy drips of pollock, while establishing a pop foundation for the likes of warhol and kruger to follow.

i am unendingly thankful for his life and his works. they will continue to inspire and encourage my growth as a visual artist. as, it is my new goal in life to make work that could be curated aside his own...no uncertain task for sure. i understand that i have a long way to go. but in his legacy i hope to follow. given my gender and generation, i am inherently investigating different themes and issues from his own, yet honestly, i feel more aligned with mr. rauschenberg, the older gay man, than i do with my contemporary peers. [as noted after viewing the whitney biennial here]

in honor of his passing i'd like to share some excerpts from this mornings ny times article :

Apropos of Mr. Rauschenberg, Cage once said, “Beauty is now underfoot wherever we take the trouble to look.”

Cage meant that people had come to see, through Mr. Rauschenberg’s efforts, not just that anything, including junk on the street, could be the stuff of art (this wasn’t itself new), but that it could be the stuff of an art aspiring to be beautiful — that there was a potential poetics even in consumer glut, which Mr. Rauschenberg celebrated. “I really feel sorry for people who think things like soap dishes or mirrors or Coke bottles are ugly,” he once said, “because they’re surrounded by things like that all day long, and it must make them miserable.”
The process — an improvisatory, counterintuitive way of doing things — was always what mattered most to him. “Screwing things up is a virtue,” he said when he was 74. “Being correct is never the point. I have an almost fanatically correct assistant, and by the time she re-spells my words and corrects my punctuation, I can’t read what I wrote. Being right can stop all the momentum of a very interesting idea.”
John Cage said that fear in life is the fear of change. If I may add to that: nothing can avoid changing. It’s the only thing you can count on. Because life doesn’t have any other possibility, everyone can be measured by his adaptability to change.”

“I usually work in a direction until I know how to do it, then I stop,” he said in an interview in the giant studio on Captiva in 2000. “At the time that I am bored or understand — I use those words interchangeably — another appetite has formed. A lot of people try to think up ideas. I’m not one. I’d rather accept the irresistible possibilities of what I can’t ignore.”

He added: “Anything you do will be an abuse of somebody else’s aesthetics. I think you’re born an artist or not. I couldn’t have learned it. And I hope I never do because knowing more only encourages your limitations.”

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