'Robert Rauschenberg: Ruminations' Heads to Lyman Allyn Museum

  • NEW LONDON, Connecticut
  • /
  • June 05, 2019

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Robert Rauschenberg, Ace from Ruminations, 1999, photolithograph. Mattatuck Museum, Waterbury, Connecticut; Purchase, Acquisition Fund, 2017.12.1.

“The artist’s job is to be a witness to his time in history.” -Robert Rauschenberg

The Lyman Allyn Art Museum will present Robert Rauschenberg: Ruminations, which follows its presentation at Mattatuck Museum. This exhibition features a series of nine large prints, composed with fragments of multiple images of important figures and events from Rauschenberg’s young life. The show will be on view June 8 through August 11, 2019.

During a career that spanned more than five decades, Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008) reshaped art in the 20th century, ushering in a new era of postwar American art. In 1964, he became the first American and youngest artist to win the prestigious Venice Biennale Grand Prize. He was also the first living American artist to be featured by Time Magazine on its cover.

When Rauschenberg launched his career in the early 1950’s, the heroic gestural painting of Abstract Expressionism was in its heyday. He challenged this tradition with an egalitarian approach to materials, bringing the stuff of the everyday world into his art. Often working in collaboration with artists, dancers, musicians, and writers, he invented new interdisciplinary modes of artistic practice that helped set the course for art of the present day. Building on the legacies of Marcel Duchamp, Kurt Schwitters and Joseph Cornell, he produced groundbreaking work with photography, mass media, and technology. The term Neo-Dada was applied to Rauschenberg’s early work and that of Jasper Johns and Allan Kaprow, as they initiated a radical shift in the focus of modern art during the 1950’s similar to that of the Dada movement in the first decade of the 20th century and is exemplified by its use of modern materials, popular imagery, and absurdist contrast.

Ruminations is a print series of nine works published by Universal Limited Art Editions (ULAE), West Islip, New York, that includes images of important figures and events from the artist’s young life. Rauschenberg always provided a sense of his personal being through his work, but this series  is rare for its directness. Although what the content implies is ambiguous, it is clear that these images are introspective representations of those figures and moments that were important to him. He returned to the more restrained gray palette used in prints from the 1960’s and depicted scenes from his childhood including his parents Ernest and Dora, his sister Janet, his former wife Susan Weil and their son Christopher, Steven Paxton, Cy Twombly, John Cage, Jasper Johns, Tatyana Grosman, Leo Castelli and Ileana Sonnabend.

The opening reception will be on Friday, June 7 from 5:00 – 7:00 PM. Museum members are free, and non-members are $10. Please RSVP to 860.443.2545 ext. 2129.

In conjunction with the exhibition, the Lyman Allyn will host a lecture titled My Friend, Bob Rauschenberg on Wednesday, June 19 from 5:30 – 7:00 PM. Jane Coats Eckert, of Eckert Fine Art, will hold an intimate discussion about her friendship with the famed American painter and graphic artist. Museum members are $10 and non-members $15. Please RSVP to 860.443.2545 ext.2129.

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