new-york

Robert Rauschenberg, Music Box (Elemental Sculpture), ca. 1955, wood crate, nails, stones, feathers, traces of metallic paint, 11 x 7 1/2 x 9 1/4".

Robert Rauschenberg

Craig F. Starr Gallery

Robert Rauschenberg, Music Box (Elemental Sculpture), ca. 1955, wood crate, nails, stones, feathers, traces of metallic paint, 11 x 7 1/2 x 9 1/4".

Nearly twenty-three years ago, Walter Hopps gave life to an overlooked period from Robert Rauschenberg’s oeuvre. At the Menil Collection in Houston, the legendary curator mounted a revelatory exhibition of the artist’s work from the early 1950s, elucidating the rich procedural and conceptual qualities of a body of paintings, collages, and sculptures that had long been overshadowed by the better known and seemingly more systematic Combines and silk screens made over the following ten years. Rauschenberg’s work from the early 1950s does not present an easily quantifiable artistic position; rather, it suggests an openness to the world, to language, to raw material, and to process that remains relevant today. Something of the energy and experimentation of those years was captured in “Robert Rauschenberg: The Fulton Street Studio, 1953–54,” a small, intimate exhibition of fifteen

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