The front gallery is dedicated to lithographs Rauschenberg created between 1962 and 1965. Almost entirely monochromatic, this group represents some of the artist’s earliest collaborations with the ULAE print studio. An important innovator in what would become known as the American Print Renaissance, Rauschenberg quickly adopted and expanded the print-making process. Works such as Rival (1963), Spot (1964) and Breakthrough I (1964) capture the moment where he began to radically absorb new techniques, combining the use of salvaged photoengraving plates (discarded by the New York Times) with gestural additions. Whereas earlier paintings relied heavily on collage and solvent transfer images, working with the printers at ULAE opened up a world of possibilities in how Rauschenberg incorporated and reused source material in his work.
Rauschenberg also pushed the limits of what was thought possible in print-making at the time, and his use of photo-silkscreens in the development of lithographic images became groundbreaking. Shades (1964) is a culmination of these experiences, as the lines between Rauschenberg’
As a counter-point, the main gallery space is dedicated to displaying the entire Soviet-American Array series (1988-91), a group of 7 colorful photogravure prints. Enormous in scale, this series represents Rauschenberg’
This body of work was the natural evolution of Rauschenberg’
With their vibrantly colored and collaged imagery and physical stature, the prints in this series reflect the tall New York skyscrapers and Soviet monuments that they display. Gone are the busy and obscuring brushwork of the early 1960’s prints. Here Rauschenberg lets images float and freely interact with one-another, a beautiful and subtle gesture towards peace and coexistence.