Museum  August 14, 2018  Megan D Robinson

Rauschenberg’s Productive Years “In and About LA”

LACMA

Robert Rauschenberg, Rodeo Palace (Spread), 1975-76, solvent transfer, pencil, and ink on fabric and cardboard, with wood doors, fabric, metal, rope, and pillow, mounted on foamcore and redwood supports, 144 × 192 × 5 1/2 in., collection of Lyn and Norman Lear, Los Angeles, © Robert Rauschenberg Foundation

Now at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), In and About LA showcases the late Robert Rauschenberg’s photographic exploration of Los Angeles. A pioneering American artist whose groundbreaking work anticipated the Pop Art movement, Rauschenberg worked in a wide range of subjects, styles, materials, and techniques, utilizing photography, printmaking, papermaking, and performance. In 1950, he began making "Combines," which bridged photography, found objects and painting, blurring the line between painting and sculpture, merging kitsch and fine art. Rauschenberg’s photography was a key part of his artistic development. The works at LACMA illustrate his keen perception, his juxtaposition of imagery being both whimsical and thought-provoking.

Robert Rauschenberg, Los Angeles, California, 1981
LACMA

Robert Rauschenberg, Los Angeles, California, 1981, gelatin silver print, 13 x 19 inches, Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, © Robert Rauschenberg Foundation

Robert Rauschenberg, Los Angeles, California, 1981
LACMA

Robert Rauschenberg, Los Angeles, California, 1981, gelatin silver print, 13 × 19 in., Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, © Robert Rauschenberg Foundation

Robert Rauschenberg, Los Angeles, California, 1981
LACMA

Robert Rauschenberg, Los Angeles, California, 1981, gelatin silver print, 13 × 19 in., Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, © Robert Rauschenberg Foundation

Robert Rauschenberg, Los Angeles, California, 1981
LACMA

Robert Rauschenberg, Los Angeles, California, 1981, gelatin silver print, 13 x 19 inches, Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, © Robert Rauschenberg Foundation

Rauschenberg was born October 22, 1925. A Texan who lived and worked in New York and Florida, Rauschenberg nevertheless had strong connections to California. Drafted into the Navy during WWII, he went to his first art museum while stationed in Southern California, at Camp Pendleton in 1944. This visit inspired him to become an artist. Rauschenberg later studied at the Kansas City Art Institute, the Académie Julian in Paris, and Black Mountain College.

© Museum Associates/LACMA

Robert Rauschenberg, L.A. Uncovered #11, 1998, color screenprint, 30 7/8 × 22 3/4 in., Los Angeles County Museum of Art, gift of the artist and Gemini G.E.L., © Robert Rauschenberg Foundation

In the following decades, Rauschenberg partnered with L.A. print workshops Gemini G.E.L. and Styria Studio, and participated in LACMA’s Art & Technology program, creating some of his most innovative work. In and About LA features a selection of photographs, screenprints and a large-scale multimedia work from a local private collection that highlight his documentation of L.A., offering innovative and insightful glimpses into the flavor of the city’s daily life.

© Museum Associates/LACMA

Robert Rauschenberg, L.A. Uncovered #1, 1998, color screenprint, 20 1/2 × 20 1/4 in., Los Angeles County Museum of Art, gift of the artist and Gemini G.E.L., © Robert Rauschenberg Foundation

Rauschenberg was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 1993, and received the Leonardo da Vinci World Award of Arts in 1995 in recognition of his over 40 years of artistic innovation. One of the most influential artists of the 20th century, his work continues to inspire and defy categorization.

Rauschenberg: In and About LA is at LACMA until February 10, 2019.

About the Author

Megan D Robinson

Megan D Robinson writes for Art & Object and the Iowa Source.