On display August 18, 2022 through February 27, 2023
In late 1969, reeling from the world situation, his friends’ personal problems, and a studio fire, Robert Rauschenberg, the art world’s acknowledged enfant terrible, consulted an astrologer. He feared his own actions were responsible for the dire news. The astrologer advised the seashore. Fleeing New York to Malibu, California for respite, Rauschenberg planned to paint a large, calm watercolor.
Instead, he made Currents.
The artist collaged together headlines, photographs, advertisements, and articles from eight national newspapers in January and February 1970. The collages served as studies for three series of screenprints that collectively formed Rauschenberg’s protest. He remarked, “I decided to communicate only through the newspapers, the hot news, the kind we forget as soon as we hear it.”
He hoped the minimal, direct imagery would “encourage individual conscience.” When the first exhibition of Currents opened at Dayton’s Gallery 12 in Minneapolis in April 1970, Rauschenberg included audio recordings of news broadcasts. The sounds and images in this gallery, while demonstrating the artist’s concern over his time and place, reveal a world uncannily like ours today.