Info

Robert Rauschenberg, 2014
Text by Kelsey Halliday Johnson
58 pages, Softcover
Published by Locks Art Publications
ISBN: 978-1-879173-89-7

As one of the most important postwar American artists, Rauschenberg's work continues to provoke critical dialogue. Artist and critic Brian O'Doherty coined the term "vernacular glance" in 1973 to describe Rauschenberg's relationship to image culture. He amassed and repeatedly reproduced images from everyday life, making unusual juxtapositions and layerings. As our relationship to visual material continues to evolve through the internet's ability to bring together disparate visual information, Rauschenberg's approach to combining imagery still resonates. In 1984 at the United Nations, Rauschenberg announced his plans for a project entitled ROCI (Rauschenberg Overseas Cultural Interchange), an artistic program that would encompass a nearly seven year, ten-country tour to encourage "world peace and understanding." ROCI initiated projects in Mexico, Chile, Venezuela, China, Tibet, Japan, Cuba, the Soviet Union, Germany, and Malaysia along with ROCI USA works. Through this worldwide project he collected photographs and source materials for a unique body of work for each country, and bestowed artworks in cultural institutions in each nation and one in the National Gallery of Art that was made during his travels. The exhibition catalogs for each country's project would include contributions by local poets, writers, or journalists. The global project culminated in a major survey of the works at the National Gallery of Art in 1991. Rauschenberg's interest in a global exchange and making international cultural connections through the language of art was ahead of his time. Looking back, ROCI can be seen as a predecessor to the globalized art dialogue we celebrate today and is a crucial part of Rauschenberg's legacy and vision. In the exhibition and accompanying publication is a selection of major works and editioned pieces, exploring Rauschenberg's legacy representing his material experimentation and innovation.