Robert Rauschenberg at Tate Modern, December 1, 2016 – April 2, 2017

“Tate Modern’s major exhibition of the work of Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008), organised in collaboration with The Museum of Modern Art in New York, is the first posthumous retrospective and the most comprehensive survey of the artist’s work for 20 years.

The first US artist to win the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale in 1963, Robert Rauschenberg blazed a new trail for art in the second half of the twentieth century. Moving between painting, sculpture, photography, print-making, technology, stage design and performance, he refused to accept conventional boundaries in art and in life, his quest for innovation fired by his openness to the world, his enthusiasm for collaboration and his passion for travel.

Each chapter of Rauschenberg’s six-decade career will be represented by major international loans that rarely travel. Among these is a selection of his iconic Combines, hybrids between painting and sculpture, which include Monogram 1955-59, travelling to the UK for the first time in over half a century, and Bed 1955. Tate Modern will also show the signature silkscreen paintings which signalled Rauschenberg’s early commitment to political activism, including Retroactive II 1964, which portrays John F. Kennedy, who had recently been assassinated.

Performance and dance remained key interests for Rauschenberg and will form a central strand of the exhibition, as will his interest in pushing the limits of image-making with new materials such as printing on translucent textiles, polished steel or oxydised copper. A striking group of late inkjet paintings, combining dozens of images taken at home and abroad through the use of digital technology, will reveal how he continued to innovate right into the twenty-first century.” — Tate Modern


Robert Rauschenberg. Untitled (double Rauschenberg). ca. 1950. Robert Rauschenberg and Susan Weil. Monoprint: exposed blueprint paper. 209.6 x 92.1 cm. Private collection


Robert Rauschenberg. Bed. 1955. Combine painting: oil, pencil, toothpaste, and red fingernail polish on pillow, quilt (previously owned by the artist Dorothea Rockburne), and bedsheet mounted on wood supports. 191.1 x 80 x 20.3 cm. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of Leo Castelli in honour of Aldred H. Barr, Jr. © Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, New York. Image: The Museum of Modern Art, New York/Scala, Florence

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Robert Rauschenberg. Monogram. 1955-59. Combine: oil, paper, fabric, printed reproductions, metal, wood, rubber shoe-heel, and tennis ball on two conjoined canvases with oil on taxidermied Angora goat with brass plaque and rubber tire on wood platform mounted on four casters. 106.7 x 135.2 x 163.8 cm. Moderna Museet, Stockholm. Purchase with contribution from Moderna Museets Vänner/The Friends of Moderna Museet. © Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, New York


Robert Rauschenberg. Retroactive II. 1964. Oil and silk-screen ink print on canvas. 213.4 x 152.4 cm.  Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Partial gift of Stefan T. Edlis and H. Gael Neeson. © Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, New York. Photo: Nathan Keay © MCA Chicago


Robert Rauschenberg. Untitled (Spread). 1983. Solvent transfer and acrylic on wood panel, with umbrellas. 188.6 x 245.7 x 88.9 cm. © Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, New York

Robert Rauschenberg is organised by Tate Modern and The Museum of Modern Art, New York. It is curated by Achim Borchardt-Hume, Director of Exhibitions, Tate Modern; and Leah Dickerman, The Marlene Hess Curator of Painting and Sculpture, The Museum of Modern Art, New York; with Catherine Wood, Senior Curator, International Art (Performance), Tate Modern; and Fiontán Moran and Juliette Rizzi, Assistant Curators, Tate Modern. The exhibition will travel to The Museum of Modern Art in New York and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 2017.

Images courtesy Tate Modern.