The multimedia magpie is the subject of a retrospective at SFMoma that unpacks his layered approach to pop art, photography and ephemera
Bob would find out how far you could take a work of art and still have a work of art, the curator Gary Garrels said at the opening of Robert Rauschenbergs retrospective, a sprawling show of more than 150 works now at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Garrels explained: He was the great manipulator of images and the great omnivore of images, saying that the artists ability to integrate pop culture into art historical traditions cemented his legacy as a master mid-century conceptualist.
From his Black Mountain College days to his Red Paintings period and taxidermied animal installation phase, Rauschenbergs creative practice was unorthodox and wildly eclectic. The exhibit is a testament to his eccentric sensibility, and includes a glass vat of bubbling mud, dirt and mold encased in a wooden box, and a taxidermied goat head circumscribed in a tire. The artist called the latter artwork a Combine for its dynamic combination of painting and sculptural elements. (Other Combines are comprised of found materials such as winged insects, gold leaf, toothpaste, parachutes, fragments of a Roman fresco, cardboard boxes, snail shells and most famously, newspaper.)