NEW YORK – Robert Rauschenberg: The Fulton Street Studio, 1953-1954 will be on view at Craig F. Starr Gallery from April 4 through May 23, 2014. The exhibition brings together 15 paintings and sculptures from 1953 and 1954, on loan from the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, the Sonnabend Collection, and important private collections, including those of Jasper Johns, Marguerite Steed Hoffman and Mary and John Pappajohn. A fully illustrated catalogue will include an essay by Thomas Crow, Provostial Fellow and the Rosalie Solow Professor Modern Art at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University.
The exhibition focuses on a particularly vital and productive moment in Robert Rauschenberg's career. Between the spring of 1953 and the end of 1954, he occupied a studio on Fulton Street in Lower Manhattan, where he produced some of his most varied and radical work: his last series of black paintings; his Elemental Sculptures and paintings; a suite of gold paintings; and a series of red paintings. At least one example of each series will be on view.
Rauschenberg began his black paintings at Black Mountain College in North Carolina, and he revisited and reworked them while at Fulton Street. Like the white lead paintings, gold paintings, and red paintings, these works are examples of Rauschenberg's intense investigation into the concrete nature of his materials. The elemental sculptures similarly examine the fundamental practices of sculpture. Rauschenberg considered all of these works to be "visual experiences" and "not Art." His experimentation with the stripping down and building up of collaged surfaces would ultimately lead Rauschenberg to create his earliest "combines," including Small Red Painting, c. 1954, which will be on view. With the combines, Rauschenberg incorporated materials from everyday life into the rich compositions of his previous series, transforming newspapers, clothing, and other ephemera into a new, groundbreaking kind of art.