Wednesday, May 14, 2008

RIP, Robert Rauschenberg

Untitled (Man with White Shoes), Untitled (Man with White Shoes)Robert Rauschenberg
Untitled (Man with White Shoes)
ca. 1954
mixed mediums with taxidermy hen and a pair of painted leather shoes, ca. 87 x 237 x 26 in.
Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles

When I read yesterday that Robert Rauschenberg died, I thought about the first time I saw some of his combines in person. It was a pop art exhibit at MOCA. There were a couple Jasper Johns paintings (including a "Flag"); I remember some works by Larry Rivers and Roy Lichtenstein too. The most vivid memory was seeing the Rauschenbergs.

I can almost recall the moment like it was a recent memory although it was about 15 years ago. It was an explosion of joy and excitement that has remained with me. I had a genuine, unabashed love for his art that must originate in a very special place in the mind. The chicken odalisk was there, but my favorite was "Untitled (Man with White Shoes)" (pictured above). Although I'd seen photos of his work, there was a quasi-mystical quality about exploring the details in 3 dimensions. Walking around it, crouching to see the details... Looking at again... It was incredible. He painted as well, but it's the assemblages that I really love.

I never doubt that art touches people, because it's touched me and that was one of those times. I loved the sense of wonder in his art, and I didn't sense pretension in it. (Maybe because he was born in Port Arthur...?) I'm sure he (along with my grandmother) influenced my views on waste and conservation. I believe it is a great virtue to make something beautiful out of trash.

No one cares what I think, but this is what a blog is all about... Right?

I raise my glass to Rauschy, or whatever his friends may have called him..

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