Robert Rauschenberg: Prints from the Universal Limited Art Editions, 1962-2008 examines the extensive collaboration between Robert Rauschenberg and the fine arts publisher, Universal Limited Art Editions. Together, artist and publisher helped redefine printmaking through an extensive experimentation with the medium, and the results contributed significantly to the history of modern art in the United States. The exhibition provides a thorough survey of that relationship, from the first year of their collaboration in 1962 to 2008, the year of Rauschenberg's death.
Rauschenberg was born in Port Arthur, Texas, in 1925. He began his education at the Kansas City Art Institute and the Académie Julian in Paris before attending Black Mountain College in North Carolina in 1948. His classes with former Bauhaus instructor Josef Albers were less influential than other relationships he developed during that time with musician John Cage and dancer Merce Cunningham. The two not only informed Rauschenberg's work but often provided him with a public forum for his experimentation in the coming years. For instance, Cage's Theatre Prince #1 (1951) offered Rauschenberg the opportunity to develop his first combine, an assemblage of painting and found objects that both challenged distinctions between painting and sculpture and blurred the boundaries between art and everyday life. As he later explained, "I was bombarded with TV sets and magazines by the refuse, by the excess of the world. . . I thought that if I could paint or make an honest work, it should incorporate all of these elements, which were and are a reality."
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