Life and Work of Robert Rauschenberg Profiled in NYTimes

Thursday, June 4, 2015
Life and Work of Robert Rauschenberg Profiled in NYTimes
Rauschenberg once wrote: “Painting relates to both art and life. Neither can be made. (I try to act in that gap between the two.)” Much of what MacLear and Snyder encounter falls into that gap. I opened a tub full of fabric: a roll of sheer material with red polka dots, some shiny, burgundy satin, some nappy gray wool. A few of the samples had patches missing or other evidence of having contributed to some work of Rauschenberg’s, now dwelling who knows where in the world. A box labeled “photos”: Were these finished artworks, materials intended for a collage, candids of life on Captiva or, most likely, some combination of all of the above? In the back room were wooden crates I took to be intentionally mislabeled (“chair”; “step”) to conceal priceless sculptures and other three-dimensional works, although it was nowhere apparent which ones. On the wall hung a yellow railroad crossing sign emblazoned with Rauschenberg’s initials: “R.R.” There is a famous photograph of the artist painting on glass at Cape Canaveral, with the space shuttle set to launch in the background. A similar “R.R.” sign is at his side, one of many he collected. 
Since 2012, the Foundation has converted the homes and studio on Captiva into an artists’ residency, where some furniture, paint cans and the flatbed printer he called “Janis Joplin” still remain. They also turned the artist’s former residence and studio on Lafayette Street in downtown Manhattan into a scholarship center and headquarters, which now administers a global philanthropy program, in line with Rauschenberg’s passionate belief that art could connect people across cultural lines. You could argue that the Foundation is creating, in a social space, a giant Rauschenberg: his final, most collaborative and most interactive environment, the ultimate manifestation of his wish to live inside of his art and to invite others in, too....
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