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]

RAUSCHENBERG and i were born ३ days and ५४ years apart

he was a libra/scorpio cusp...just saying..

RAUSCHENBERG on mixed media + fashion= purely and obviously elemental

Mr. Rauschenberg, who knew that not everybody found it easy to grasp the open-endedness of his work, once described to the writer Calvin Tomkins an encounter with a woman who had reacted skeptically to “Monogram” and “Bed” in his 1963 retrospective at the Jewish Museum, one of the events that secured Mr. Rauschenberg’s reputation: “To her, all my decisions seemed absolutely arbitrary — as though I could just as well have selected anything at all — and therefore there was no meaning, and that made it ugly.

“So I told her that if I were to describe the way she was dressed, it might sound very much like what she’d been saying. For instance, she had feathers on her head. And she had this enamel brooch with a picture of ‘The Blue Boy’ on it pinned to her breast. And around her neck she had on what she would call mink but what could also be described as the skin of a dead animal. Well, at first she was a little offended by this, I think, but then later she came back and said she was beginning to understand.”
[borrowed from the nytimes]

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.”

: marked by outstanding strength and vigor of body, mind, or spirit

synonyms see strong
— stal·wart·ly adverb
— stal·wart·ness noun