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Robert Rauschenberg and Photography

September 5–November 2, 2013

32 East 57th Street, 9th Floor, New York, NY


Installation Views

Selected Works

NEW YORK, August 14, 2013 - Pace/MacGill Gallery is pleased to present Robert Rauschenberg and Photography, an exhibition of works by Robert Rauschenberg exploring the role of photography as the center of the artist's 35 year career. The exhibition will be on view from September 5 – November 2, 2013. An opening reception will be held on Thursday, September 5 from 5:30pm–7:30pm.

In the early 1950s at Black Mountain College, studying under Josef Albers and alongside Aaron Siskind, Rauschenberg began his career as a photographer and continued to use photography as a basis for art-making throughout his life. Albers' Bauhaus influence can be seen in the way that Rauschenberg's photographs explore surface qualities and attempt to get to the root of materials. His 1950 photograph of a naked light bulb, the cord that activates it, and the animated surface of a black tin ceiling creates a striking, non-hierarchical composition and offers a two-dimensional equivalent of the Elemental Sculptures he was making concurrently.

Robert Rauschenberg and Photography will include photographs and other bodies of work that incorporate photographic imagery, including Bleachers (bleached large format Polaroid prints mounted to aluminum), Nightshades (photographs silkscreened onto aluminum), and Photems (shaped collages of photographs). These process-oriented works embrace materiality, assemblage, erasure, and reflection – qualities that resurfaced time and again throughout his career. Yet at the center of his work is the photographic, reproducible image and its infinite possibility for permutation.

Nicholas Cullinan, in discussing Rauschenberg, wrote that 'to capture time is to fracture time.' Rauschenberg’s mutating images, reversals, and variants arrest moments only to obscure them with splashy faux-expressionist brushwork which, in the case of the Nightshades and Bleachers, erodes the surfaces. 'Painting' becomes a tactic of erasure. Using his own photographs as well as appropriated material, he screened, transferred, and recycled images, using juxtaposition and obfuscation to create frames within frames, moving with energized fluidity between two and three-dimensional pieces, truly a post-modern artist in his laying bare of seams, interruptions and process.

Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008) briefly attended the University of Texas to study pharmacology and after serving in the US Navy during World War II attended Kansas City Art Institute (1947-1948), and the Academie Julian, Paris (1947) to study art. Rauschenberg then attended Black Mountain College in North Carolina (1948-1949) where he studied with Joseph Albers. His artwork can be found in public and private collections worldwide, including the Art Institute of Chicago; the Centre George Pompidou, Paris; The Moderna Museet, Stockholm; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; the Tate Gallery, London; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Rauschenberg has had many exhibitions worldwide, including Robert Rauschenberg: A Retrospective, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (1997, traveled to Menil Collection, Contemporary Arts Museum, and Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Museum Ludwig, Cologne and Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, through 1999); Combines, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2005, traveled to Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, Centre Pompidou, Paris, and Moderna Museet, Stockholm in 2007); Cardboards and Related Pieces, Menil Collection, Houston (2007); Traveling '70–'76, Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Serralves, Porto (2008, traveled to Haus der Kunst, Munich, and Madre, Naples in 2009); Gluts, The Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice (2009, traveled to The Tinguely Museum, Basel, Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, and Villa e Collezione Panza, Varese in 2010); and Botanical Vaudeville, Inverleith House, Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh (2011). For

For more information about Robert Rauschenberg and Photography or press requests, please contact Jessica Mostow at 212.759.7999 or For general inquiries, please email

One of the world's leading photography galleries, Pace/MacGill has been dedicated to advancing fine art photography for 30 years. Known for discovering artists, representing masters, and placing important collections and archives into major public institutions, Pace/MacGill has presented some 200 exhibitions and published numerous catalogues on modern and contemporary photography. Founded in 1983 by Peter MacGill, in collaboration with Arne Glimcher of The Pace Gallery and Richard Solomon of Pace Editions, Pace/MacGill is located at 32 East 57th Street in New York City.

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