Ruminations on Memory contends with the act of remembrance and reflection, featuring a rare presentation of all nine prints from Robert Rauschenberg’s Ruminations portfolio, Judy Chicago’s Retrospective in a Box portfolio, and selections from the museum’s collection. Organized by the Asheville Art Museum and curated by Hilary Schroeder, assistant curator, this exhibition will be on view at the museum in Asheville, N.C., from November 19, 2021 through March 14, 2022 in conjunction with A Living Language: Cherokee Syllabary and Contemporary Art.
Artworks are vessels for processing, recalling, and reflecting on the past. Artists often draw upon materials from their own pasts and grasp at fleeting moments in time in the creation of an object. For the viewer, observation of an artwork can draw out personal memories.
Artworks in a variety of media explore various ways of remembering, including individual memories that focus on the moments from an artist’s past; generational memory that looks back to one’s ancestors, whether recent or long past; and collective memory, wherein in an image might evoke bygone times that balance between constructed and real. Through these artworks that ruminate upon the past, viewers may discover the stirrings of their own thoughts and recollections prompted by the works before them.
Ruminations on Memory offers a unique opportunity to experience the entirety of a major print portfolio by American painter Robert Rauschenberg (Port Arthur, TX 1925–2008 Captiva, FL). Rauschenberg was a student at Black Mountain College in NC for the 1948–1949 and 1951–1952 academic sessions and for the 1951 and 1952 summers. His Ruminations series consists of nine color photogravures which were printed in 1999 and reflect on Rauschenberg’s early life, his friends and family, and the memories he held dear. The series represents especially significant mature work by Rauschenberg that looks back to his most formative moments as an artist including his time at Black Mountain College and the friendships and ideas formed there.
Also presented in the exhibition is an important series of prints by Judy Chicago (born Chicago, IL 1939). Five decades into her career, Chicago stands as one of the foremost artists of the 20th and 21st centuries, having committed to socially minded work, uplifting in particular experiences salient to her feminine and Jewish identities. Retrospective in a Box consists of seven prints and a portfolio created in collaboration with the master printers at Landfall Press, and provides an overview of her major motifs and ideas, including the print Spring the Dinner, a nod to her seminal 1979 work The Dinner Party.
In addition to the artworks from the museum’s collection, visitors will be able to experience Felix Gonzales-Torres's “Untitled” (L.A.), on loan from the Art Bridges collection. “Untitled” (L.A.) is one of the artist’s iconic interactive candy installations where memories are engaged not only through sight but through sound, touch, taste, and smell as well.
Learn more about Ruminations on Memory and A Living Language: Cherokee Syllabary and Contemporary Art at ashevilleart.org.