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Robert Rauschenberg, RIP


by Jerome Weeks 13 May 2008

Retroactive I, oil and silkscreen ink on canvas, 1964 ___________________________________________ One of the most important artists to come out of Texas, a pop art pioneer and creator of “combines,” Robert Rauschenberg died yesterday on Captiva Island, Florida. He was 82.  Here is the Associated Press obit

CTA TBD

Retroactive I, oil and silkscreen ink on canvas, 1964

___________________________________________

One of the most important artists to come out of Texas, a pop art pioneer and creator of “combines,” Robert Rauschenberg died yesterday on Captiva Island, Florida. He was 82.  Here is the Associated Press obit

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  • I was saddened to learn of Bob Rauschenberg’s passing. It was my pleasure to work with him in the mid-70’s on the KERA production of Brazos River, a dance piece choreographed by Twyla Tharp, with sets and costumes by Rauschenberg.

    To prepare for the production I spent a week at Rauschenberg’s home on Captiva Island in Florida. I watched while he worked on three or four of his collage pieces. He was using newspaper images and comics, spraying them with solvent and applying them to the canvas. Then he’d peel off the paper, leaving a reverse color image of the newsprint. Between the solvent and the scotch, conversation flowed.

    Bob had little or no direct experience with making television, and so I acted as a kind of guide, sketching out what was possible, given the tiny studio space at KERA and the limitations of the cumbersome studio cameras. One thing we quickly realized was that we’d have to install a special, springy floor that the performers could leap upon. I had no idea how the cameras would work on it, but in the end, they did.

    Months later Bob and Twyla and the dancers arrived in Dallas for the week of rehearsal and production. I do believe it was the only time in my memory when scotch was consumed in the studio control room. Lot’s of scotch. We finished the shoot and edited Brazos River, which was broadcast locally. I don’t recall that it was ever seen nationally.

    I wonder now how it would hold up, given the astonishing advances in tv technology lo these decades later. And I treasure having known Bob, a sweet and fiery fellow. I still have the cover of Time Magazine which he signed for me, duplicating his printed signature. He was an American treasure.

    -Mark Birnbaum

  • Yolette Garcia

    Just a note that the Nobel Laureate poet, Octavio Paz wrote a poem in honor of the artist, “AWind Called Bob Rauschenberg,” Here are a few of the begining lines:
    “Landscape fallen from Saturn,
    abandoned landscape,
    plains of nuts and wheels and bars,
    asthmatic turbines, broken propellers,
    electrical scars,
    desolate landscape:
    the objects sleep side by side.
    great flocks of things and things and things,
    the objects sleep with eyes open…”

    I love Paz’ visual tribute. His and Rauschenberg’s artistry come alive.