The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation has announced that six major museums across the United States have acquired nine works by artist Robert Rauschenberg (1925–2008) through the foundation’s Gift/Purchase Program. This one-time program was designed to expand public access to and awareness of the artist’s work by offering museums a rare opportunity to acquire artworks from the foundation’s holdings through equal parts gift and purchase.
“When Rauschenberg’s work transferred to the foundation, we committed ourselves to ensuring the broadest access possible to his art by helping to place works in museum collections,” said Christy MacLear, executive director of the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation. “These pieces represent the strength of Rauschenberg’s work in the 1970s and 1980s and further his legacy of artistic innovation. We could not be more pleased to have them acquired by some of America’s finest institutions.”
The six institutions that have acquired the artworks are: • The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York • Bande de Sureté / Twin City / Nipples (Cardboard), 1971 • Vow (Jammer), 1976 •The Minneapolis Institute of Arts • Park / ROCI MEXICO, 1985 • The Museum of Modern Art, New York • Nabisco Shredded Wheat (Cardboard), 1971 • Gull (Jammer), 1976 • Stop Side Early Winter Glut, 1987 • The New Orleans Museum of Art • Melic Meeting (Spread), 1979 • The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art • Rosalie / Red Cheek / Temporary Letter / Stock (Cardboard), 1971 • The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York • Untitled (Venetian), 1971 The artworks acquired include key examples of some of Rauschenberg’s most important series: Cardboards, Venetians, Jammers, Spreads, Gluts, and ROCI works. Created across two decades, these works exemplify the diversity of the artist’s materials and activities. • Cardboards investigate the aesthetic potential of a mundane material. • Venetians are a sculptural series evoking the atmosphere of the Italian city. • Jammers, inspired by a trip to India, celebrate the sensual qualities of fabric. • Spreads combine printed imagery and found objects in large-scale tableaux. • Gluts address the socioeconomic circumstances underlying the detritus used as sculptural material. • Rauschenberg’s humanitarian project ROCI (Rauschenberg Overseas Culture Interchange) traveled to eleven countries from 1984 to 1991 to promote world peace through artistic dialogue with local cultures. Images of the artworks purchased by the participating institutions are available on the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation’s website (www.rauschenbergfoundation.org).
“Having worked with Rauschenberg and his art for more than thirty years,” said David White, senior curator for the foundation, “it is enormously gratifying that these six museums selected such representative works for their collections. An entirely new generation of museum visitors will have the opportunity to experience the breadth of Rauschenberg’s work as I have.” In addition to the Gift/Purchase Program, in 2013 the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation has lent artworks to forty-six museums and exhibitions around the world; initiated a “Loan Bank” pilot program with two university museums that connect painting, sculpture, and performance-based artworks with curricula development; and donated more than a hundred works by other artists from Rauschenberg’s personal art collection to leading museums and cultural centers, including the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Walker Art Center, the National Gallery of Art, and the New York Public Library for Performing Arts.