May 13, 2008

R.I.P. Robert Rauschenberg

A great American artist and fellow Texan Robert Rauschenberg died today... He is one of my heroes. Through his work and projects he pushed the boundaries, using techniques and materials that challenged traditional art and ideologies.

I learned that his mother was one of his earliest influences, watching her pattern and piece fabrics together to make patchwork clothes for her family.
The family lived so frugally that his mother, Dora, made him shirts out of scraps of fabric. Once she made herself a skirt out of the back of the suit that her younger brother was buried in. She didn’t want the material to go to waste. From the NY Times article, published earlier today.

Not just one of my influences, I'd like to show some work by skirt maker/artist Alison Willoughby, whose work is also influenced by Rauschenburg and other artists.

Robert Rauschenberg, Untitled, 1955. Oil paint, crayon, pastel, paper, fabric, print reproductions, photographs and cardboard on wood., 15 1/2 x 20 3/4 in. (39.3 x 52.7 cm). Jasper Johns Collection. © Robert Rauschenberg / Adagp, Paris.

Robert Rauschenberg, Monogram, 1955-59, combine painting: oil, paper, fabric, printed paper, printed reproductions, metal, wood, rubber, shoe heel, and tennis ball on canvas, with oil on Angora goat and rubber tire, on wood platform mounted on four casters. 42 x 63½ x 64 ½ in. (106.7 x 160.7 x 164 cm). Moderna Museet, Stockholm.

I remember walking out of my art history class the first time I viewed this slide, utterly confused and bewildered, yet it resonated with me.

I'm not sure if this skirt is a homage to Monogram, but I feel like it should be. I'd wear it in a heartbeat.

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