Robert Rauschenberg (1925- ). 1953. White Paintings [cf Cage, 4’33”]. Robert Rauschenberg, White Painting [seven panel], 1951. Robert Rauschenberg Erased de Kooning Drawing (1953).
The genesis of the project is well-documented: Rauschenberg went over to the master's studio and said he'd like to erase one of his drawings as an act of art. De Kooning, apparently intrigued, had three groups of drawings. The first comprised those with which he was not satisfied - that wouldn't work. The next was of drawings he liked, but which were all in pencil - too easy to erase. If de Kooning was going to participate in this neo-Dada performance, he would play his part. He looked in his third group and found a multi-media work on paper that would be quite difficult to eradicate (the media of Erased de Kooning Drawing are "traces of ink and crayon on paper"). It apparently took Rauschenberg one month to get the sheet relatively clear of marks. No photograph exists of the work he erased; we do have a photograph of the relatively simple sketch on the reverse, published here for the first time.
Layers of media images, mostly found in the press, are expanded with the concept of movement and rotation. The work consists of prints on five round sheets of plexiglass in a metal case, set in motion by electric motors and a control unit that allows to address each single circle of images.
Robert Rauschenberg. Booster from the series Booster and 7 Studies. 1967. Lithograph
In 1969 Robert Rauschenberg was invited by NASA to witness the lift-off of Apollo 11 at Kennedy Space Center and to use this theme in his work. He created a series of lithographs celebrating the astonishing achievements of the United States NASA Apollo Mission to the Moon. The Stoned Moon series was actually a double pun - the image of this historically groundbreaking event being put on lithographic stones and the feeling of being 'stoned' metaphorically on one of the most important events in the history of man.
Robert Rauschenberg. Preview from the series Hoarfrost Editions. 1974. Offset lithograph and screenprint on fabric and paper bags, composition and sheet: 69" x 6' 8 1/2" (175.3 x 204.4 cm).
Tribute to Merce Cunningham. Original silkscreen with collage, pochoir, and pencil, 1984