Robert Rauschenberg (b. 1925, Port Arthur, Texas; d. 2008, Captiva, Florida) briefly attended the University of Texas at Austin in 1943 and served in the U.S. Navy during World War II prior to studying art. Upon being honorably discharged in the summer of 1945, Rauschenberg enrolled at the Kansas City Art Institute (1947) and later at the Académie Julien in Paris (1948) before studying with Josef Albers at Black Mountain College in North Carolina, where he formed life-long friendships with John Cage, Merce Cunningham and David Tudor. Rauschenberg received acclaim for his Combine sculptures, works that incorporated painting and a variety of found objects. The juxtaposition of different media (lithography, painting, photography, silk-screening and sculpture) and their interplay comprise Rauschenberg’s chief interests, and throughout his career, his work has been marked by a sense of experimentation and chance.
New York—Pace is pleased to announce its participation in Art Basel with a presentation of rarely seen works from the 1980s and early 1990s by Robert Rauschenberg. The fair also includes a site-conditioned installation by Robert Irwin in Art Unlimited and an outdoor presentation by Vik Muniz as part of Art Parcours.
The works presented at Basel distill the core formal and social concerns that occupied Rauschenberg’s life and practice from the 1950s until his death in 2008. In these works, Rauschenberg silkscreens photographs to canvas or paper, in some cases affixing the latter to the former. Evincing his disregard for conventions of medium, the works collapse painting, photography and collage, echoing his landmark use of screen printing in the 1960s and signifying the renewed importance that his own photographs took in his work from 1980 onwards.
Among the works are three selections from his Salvage series, which developed from his set and costume design for a 1983 production by his frequent collaborator Trisha Brown. Images that appear across this group of works draw from his experience in the Rauschenberg Overseas Culture Interchange (1984–91), which testifies to his lifelong belief in the social power of art.
This presentation in Basel follows the recent announcement of the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation joining Pace, Luisa Strina and Thaddeus Ropac, which will also be presenting work by the artist at the fair.
In the fall Pace will present an exhibition of late works by the artist, many of which were first shown at the gallery during Rauschenberg’s life. The exhibition will be Pace’s ninth solo presentation of his work since 1996 and coincides with the artist’s ninetieth birthday. In 2016 a retrospective of his work organized by The Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the Tate Modern, London, will open and later travel to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, which hosted the Rauschenberg Research Project
Art Unlimited Robert Irwin’s Black3, 2008, will be exhibited in the Unlimited section of the fair, which is curated by Gianni Jetzer. In the site-conditioned installation, viewers navigate a sequence of framed scrims, each with a translucent black square in its center. Specified lighting conditions between the panels heighten viewer’s depth-of-field perception, attuning them to phenomenological conditions of light and space.
The installation in Basel relates to Irwin’s Excursus: Homage to the Square3, which will be on view at Dia Center for the Arts, Beacon, New York, from June 1, 2015, through May 2017. Irwin is also designing a new permanent installation for the Chinati Foundation in Marfa, Texas, which is scheduled to open in 2016—the same year the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, opens a survey of his work from the 1950s through the 1970s.
Art Parcours For the Art Parcours section of the fair curated by Florence Derieux, Vik Muniz will exhibit a life-size model of a matchbox sports car. Muniz fabricates enlarged versions of used matchbox cars he has found online or in thrift stores that resemble ones he played with as a child. By maintaining signs of use and wear inherent to the toy in the new version, Muniz raises questions of scale and translation as well as what it means to play with toys—both as an adult and as a child. Muniz’s work will be exhibited in the historic cobble stone streets of Martinskirchplatz outside the St. Martin Church.
Concurrently at the Venice Biennale, Muniz has created what appears to be a handcrafted paper boat. Made of wood and coated in newspaper stories about recent shipwrecks of boats transporting immigrants through the Mediterranean, the boat is named Lampedusa for the southern Italian island where many of these boats land. The work calls attention to the increasing frequency of these humanitarian crises, and will be appear in various locations in the city’s waterways during the Biennale.