Organized with the Tate modern in London, the Museum of Modern Art New York has skillfully put together American artist Robert Rauschenberg’s major retrospective in the light of his collaborations. The show “Robert Rauschenberg: Among Friends” runs until September 17 2017 and covers the six-decades of his career. The 250 works on display show his range across mediums including painting, sculpture, drawing, printing, photography, sound works and performance footage which he constantly challenged with the welcome participation of his creative contemporaries. Among many collaborators such as Trisha Brown, John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Cy Twombly, Jean Tinguely, Leah Dickerman, one acclaimed video artist by the name of Charles Atlas worked closely with the curatorial and exhibition design teams at MOMA to emphasize Rauschenberg’s prolific commitment to dance and theatre. One of the show’s highlights consists of an installation designed by Atlas screening footage from the multimedia performance entitled 9 evenings: Theatre and Engineering (1966) which features works by many artists including Rauschenberg in collaboration with engineers from Bell Laboratories.
The exhibition’s underlying principle starts with the “American myth around the idea of genius” says Marlene Hess, curator in painting and sculpture and one the masterminds behind this endeavor. Having been skeptical of muses appearing to a solitary artist, she takes interest in Rauschenberg’s overt ability to court collaborative engagements. One perfect example of this hand to hand evolving work is the Erased de Kooning Drawing (1953). Rauschenberg decides to make a piece by the process of erasing. Failing to find truth in erasing his own work, he asks a reluctant De Kooning for one of his drawings. After the fact, John Cage finds the erased piece and frames it with an inscription at the bottom, making it art again. This show focuses on how people come together and the ability of art to assume the form of dialogue. Spreading ideas and developing them among the most important port-war contemporary artists is the grounds for American Culture.