image: Let the World In: Prints by Robert Rauschenberg from the National Gallery of Art and Related Collections

Image: Introduction
Image: Accident
Image: Technology and the News
Image: Challenging Standards
Image: Cultural Interchange
Image: Masterpieces from Venice to L.A.
Image: Ruminations

Cultural Interchange
Travel has prompted Rauschenberg to experiment with a host of uncommon art materials, some exotic and others so familiar as to be often overlooked. In 1952 he visited Morocco and Italy, where he used the cardboard packaging found in men's laundered shirts as the support for collages composed of printed and cut papers, ribbons, feathers, and other discarded or surplus items—scrappy mergers of figurative and abstract elements that anticipated his subsequent Combines. Almost forty years later, in 1990, Rauschenberg revisited these works in the Shirtboards portfolio: twenty-eight meticulous replications of the 1952 collages. Printed by Styria Studio in New York using lithography and screenprint, the Shirtboards are fifty percent larger than the original works but otherwise are faithful to their models, mimicking even the glue stains and wrinkles of the originals.

Image: Shirtboards Morocco/Italy '52, 1990-1991

Travel also has spurred collaboration and cultural exchange with artists and craftspeople abroad. Rauschenberg is committed to international peace and believes that "one-to-one contact through art" can be an effective tool in bridging differences. In 1984 he launched Rauschenberg Overseas Culture Interchange (ROCI), a massive undertaking in which photographs, paintings, sculpture, and videos were created and exhibited in eleven countries, from Mexico to Malaysia, and culminated in a 1991 exhibition at the National Gallery of Art, Washington. Included within the ROCI project was the series of prints entitled Soviet/American Array, which brought together photographs he took in the Soviet Union with ones he took in the United States, symbolically connecting cultures that long had been at odds.

Image: National Gallery of Art; October 28, 2007 to March 30, 2008
Samarkand Stitches #1, 1988
sewn fabric collage with screenprint
National Gallery of Art,
Gift of Gemini G.E.L. and the Artist, 1991

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