press release

Miami, Florida—Miami Art Museum presents the work of Robert Rauschenberg in the first exhibition of his paintings in Miami since 1984, when MAM—then called the Center for Fine Arts—presented his quarter-mile-long painted opus, The 2 Furlong Piece. Robert Rauschenberg consists of seven to eight new large-scale paintings from the artist’s current series Scenarios and will be on view from March 4 to July 3, 2005. The works are based on photographs taken by the artist, primarily in the environs of his home in Captiva, Florida. Robert Rauschenberg is organized by Miami Art Museum and curated by Assistant Director for Programs/Senior Curator Peter Boswell as part of New Work, a series of projects by leading contemporary artists.

Robert Rauschenberg is an acknowledged American master who has been living in Florida since 1970. Throughout his career, Rauschenberg has been a pioneer in the use of photographic reproduction in painting and printmaking. In the 1990s, he developed a unique, highly personal transfer process that has allowed him to continue to use his own photographs as the basis for large-scale works of art while exploring environmentally-friendly materials. The results are a surprisingly intimate reflection of the beauty and joy Rauschenberg has found in everyday life for the past 50 years.

To create Scenarios, Rauschenberg digitally scans his photographs, manipulates them in the computer—usually through enlargement, cropping and image reversal—and prints them on plastic sheets using ink jet printers and water-soluble pigments. He then uses water to transfer these images onto new support surfaces made of layers of laminated paper mounted on aluminum. The moistening of the images and the pressure applied during the transfer process are both done by hand. The results are large-scale works that combine photographic imagery with the type of gesture and spontaneity associated with expressionist painting.

“Throughout the course of a very productive career, this modern master has continued to challenge the art world with his creativity,” said MAM Director Suzanne Delehanty. “As a resident of Florida, Mr. Rauschenberg draws on the rich imagery of the ever-changing, multi-faceted landscape that defines our special corner of the world. We are extremely pleased to present the art of Robert Rauschenberg to South Florida audiences with this impressive collection of new works.”

In conjunction with the exhibition, a fully-illustrated 48-page catalogue with an essay by Pulitzer Prize winningnovelist Oscar Hijuelos will be available at the MAM Store. The catalogue Rauschenberg, Scenarios, was published by PaceWildenstein, Rauschenberg’s gallery in New York, on the occasion of the artist’s recent showing there. In his discussion of Rauschenberg's photo-based, large-scale panels, Hijuelos states the Scenarios "are massive 'super' multilayered paintings that tell stories and cry out about American life; they are panoramas that have an epic quality."

Also available in the MAM Store will be Rauschenberg: Art and Life Revised Edition by Mary Lynn Kotz, published by Harry N. Abrams, Inc. In this new edition, author Mary Lynn Kotz has extensively revised her authoritative biography of the artist to include an evaluation of some of the approximately 2,000 new works he has created in the past ten years.

About the Artist

Robert Rauschenberg (b. 1925, Port Arthur, TX) briefly attended the University of Texas and served in the U.S. Navy during World War II prior to studying art. Between the years of 1947 and 1952, Rauschenberg attended the Kansas City Art Institute, the Academie Julien in Paris, the Arts Student League in New York and studied with Josef Albers at Black Mountain College in North Carolina where he formed friendships with John Cage, Merce Cunningham and David Tudor. In 1951 Rauschenberg was invited to exhibit at the Betty Parsons Gallery in New York City, and two years later he created whatwere to become his well-known “combines,” works that incorporated painting and a variety of found objects. The juxtaposition of different media (lithography, painting, photography, silk-screening and sculpture) and their interplay comprise Rauschenberg's chief interests, and throughout his career his work has been marked by a sense of experimentation and whimsy. During the 1950s Rauschenberg also began his lifelong involvement and affiliation with theatre and dance, designing sets and costumes for a variety of productions worldwide.

Rauschenberg's work has been the subject of numerous solo shows and retrospectives around the world including those organized by The Jewish Museum, New York (1963); Whitechapel Gallery, London (1964); Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (1965); The Museum of Modern Art, New York (1966, 1969); Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (1968); Israel Museum, Jerusalem (1974); National Collection of Fine Arts, Washington, DC (and tour, 1976-7); Staatliche Kunsthalle, Berlin (1980) and a tour including the Louisiana Museum, Copenhagen (1980) and the Tate Gallery, London (1981); Centre Pompidou, Musée National d'Art Moderne, Paris (1981); Fondation Maeght, Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France (1984); the 41st Venice Biennale (1984); Fundacion Juan March, Madrid and Fundacion Joan Miró, Barcelona (both 1985); Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston (and tour 1986-7); The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (1987); Whitney Museum of American Art (1990); The Menil Collection, Houston (and tour 1991-3); Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (and tour 1997-9); the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (2002); and the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford (2004).

The artist's work can be found in over 70 public museum collections throughout the United States and abroad. He currently works and lives in Florida.

About the Curator

Peter Boswell has been Assistant Director for Programs/Senior Curator at MAM since 1999. He is responsible for the growth of MAM’s permanent collection as well as the museum’s exhibitions, educational programs and publications. Since his appointment at MAM, Mr. Boswell has led the curatorial efforts behind the exhibitions Figuratively Speaking: Selection from the Permanent Collection (2005); Beyond Geometry: Experiments in Form, 1940s–70s (2004); Chuck Close Prints: Process and Collaboration (2004); Museums for a New Millennium: Concepts, Projects, Buildings (2003); Between Art and Life: Joseph Cornell to Gabriel Orozco (2003); New Work: Roberto Behar and Rosario Marquardt (2003); Miami Currents: Linking Collection and Community (2002); New Work: Teresita Fernández (2002); and New Work: Donald Lipski (2002). Prior to joining MAM, Mr. Boswell served for three years as Heiskell Arts Director at the American Academy in Rome and for 10 years served on the curatorial staff of the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. Mr. Boswell holds a BA in Art History from the University of California, Berkeley, and an MA in Art History from Stanford University.


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Robert Rauschenberg
Kurator: Peter Boswell