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

Technology and the News
Rauschenberg frequently explored modern technology as both a tool and a motif in prints of the late 1960s. Booster from 1967 is an innovative self-portrait that features a life-size column of x-ray images representing Rauschenberg's body. Produced at Gemini G.E.L. (Graphic Editions Limited), a Los Angeles print workshop known for harnessing new techniques and materials for creative ends, the six-foot lithograph and screenprint was at that time the largest hand-pulled, single-sheet print. With its impressive scale and commanding presence, Booster challenged the dominance of painting as a medium.

Image: Shirtboards Morocco/Italy '52, 1990-1991After witnessing the launch of the Apollo 11 mission to the moon in the summer of 1969, Rauschenberg created his Stoned Moon Series: thirty-four prints produced at Gemini G.E.L. that integrated diverse brush and crayon strokes with NASA photographs, maps, and blueprints. The series culminated with Sky Garden, a brilliantly colored print whose scale was even larger than that of Booster.

In a series from 1970 entitled Currents, Rauschenberg turned again to world events and politics, examining that period's turmoil as reported in contemporary newspapers. Taking a sparer approach than in his previous prints, the artist abstained from gestural mark-making and based his composition on fractured grids made up of headlines, news stories, and news photographs. Originally realized as collages, the images were issued as two series of screenprints entitled Features from Currents, in which the text is generally legible, and Surface Series from Currents, in which the text is dark and obscured with interference patterns and reversals.

Image: National Gallery of Art; October 28, 2007 to March 30, 2008
Booster and 7 Studies: Booster, 1967 lithograph and screenprint
Published by Gemini G.E.L.,
Los Angeles, California
National Gallery of Art,
Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Maclyn E.Wade, 1978

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