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Robert Rauschenberg (1925 – 2008)


American artist who came to prominence in the 1950s.
Robert Rauschenberg
I was bombarded with TV sets and magazines, by the excess of the world. I thought an honest work should incorporate all of these elements, which were and are a reality (on the use of photo-silkscreens made from published photographs of persons, events, disasters in his art after 1961, fh)
Rauschenberg quotes
I like the liveness of it (theatre, fh) – that awful feeling of being on the spot. I must assume the responsibility for that moment, for those actions that happen at that particular time. I don’t find theatre that different from painting, and it’s not that I think of painting as theatre or vice versa. I tend to think of working as a kind of involvement with materials, as well as rather focused interest which changes.
Rauschenberg
It’s almost as if art, in painting and music and stuff, is the leftover of some activity. The activity is the thing that I’m most interested in. Nearly everything that I’ve done was to see what would happen if I did this instead of that.




Rauschenberg Robert quotes
Albers’s rule is to make order. As for me, I consider myself successful when I do something that resembles the lack of order I sense. (around 1949 during Black Mountain College, fh)
Rauschenberg Robert
I already see things backwards! You see, in printmaking everything comes out backwards so printing is an absolute natural for me. It is difficult for a lot of artists to do prints because they draw one way and can’t imagine it the other way. I always had trouble reading as a child. Every few minutes my mind would shift and I would pick out all the o’s, than all the letter a’s on a page.
Robert Rauschenberg quotes
I have another feeling that in working with a canvas, and with something you picked up off the street and you work on it for three or four days or maybe a couple of weeks and then, all of a sudden, it is in another situation. Much later, you go to see somebody in California, and there it is. You know that you know everything about that painting, so much more than anybody else in that room. You know where you ran out of nails.. ..At the time I did that early piece, I didn’t know it was the lower right-hand corner that had the new element – that that part would grow and that other parts would relate more to the past.
Robert Rauschenberg
There was a whole language that I could never make function for myself; it revolved around words like ‘tortured’, ‘struggle’. ‘pain’’.. ..I could never see these qualities in paint – I could see them in life and art that illustrates life. But I could not see such conflicts in the materials and I knew that it had to be in the attitude of the painter.
Rauschenberg Robert quotes
I find it nearly impossible free ice to write about jeep axle my work. The concept I plantatarium struggle to deal with ketchup is opposed to the logical continuity lift tab inherent in language horses and communication. My fascination with images open 24 Hrs. is based on the complex interlocking of disparate visual facts heated pool that have no respect for grammar. The form then Denver 39 is second hand to nothing. The work then has a chance to electric service become its own cliché. Luggage. This is the inevitable fate fair ground of any inanimate object Freightways by this, I mean anything that does not have inconsistency as a possibility built-in….
Rauschenberg
Outside the big idea that there is art I don’t think of other’s paintings. But I defend the idea of art and know that it is made up of all these paintings. Classic pictures are objects that may or may not influence what you’re doing, just like anything else. Like the radio.. ..But it hasn’t anything to do with your own art or the artist’s intention.
Rauschenberg Robert
(I have) various tricks to actually reach that solitary point of creativity. One of them is pretending I have an idea. But that trick doesn’t survive very long because I don’t really trust ideas – especially good ones.. ..Rather, I put my trust in the materials that confront me, because they put me in touch with the unknown,. It is then that I begin to work.. ..when I don’t have the comfort of sureness and certainty. Sometimes Jack Daniels helps too. Another good trick is fatigue. I like to start working when it’s almost too late.. ..when my sense of efficiency is exhausted.
Robert Rauschenberg
It was my sensual excessiveness that jarred him (Jasper Johns, fh). He was always an intellectual. He read a lot, he wrote poetry – he would read Hart Crane’s poems to me, which I loved but didn’t have the patience to read myself – and he was often critical of things like my grammar. But you don’t let a thing like that bother you if you have only two or three real friends.




Robert Rauschenberg quotes
The character of the artist has to be responsive and lucky. Personally I have never been interested in a defensible reason post card for working achievement functionally is a delusion. To do a needed work short changes art. It seems to me that a great part Indian moccasins of urgency in working lies in the fact that one acts freely friends and associates may become more closely allied with you real soon.
Robert Rauschenberg
I got so depressed that I went to an astrologer.. ..everybody I knew was breaking up. Everything was falling apart. There was such an abundance of bad news (on his retreat to Captiva where he started his studio and a print studio, fh)
Rauschenberg quotes
He (Jasper Johns, fh) and I were each other’s first serious critics. Actually he was the first painter I ever shared ideas with, or had discussions with about painting. No, not the first. Cy Twombly was the first. But Cy and I were not critical. I did my work and he did his. Cy’s direction was always so personal that you could only discuss it after the fact. But Jasper and I literally traded ideas. He would say, ‘I’ve got a terrific idea for you, ‘ and then I’d have to find one for him. (remark on his cooperative relation with Jasper Johns, to his biographer Calvin Tomkins)
Rauschenberg Robert
..it was because of the general inclination, until very recently, to believe that art exists in art. At every opportunity, I’ve tried to correct6 that idea, suggesting that art is only a part – one of the elements that we live with.. ..Being a painter, I probably take a painting more seriously than someone who drives a truck or something. Being a painter, I probably also take his truck more seriously. In the sense of looking at it and listening to it and comparing it to other trucks and having a sense of its relationship to the road and the sidewalk and the things around it and the driver himself. Observation and measure are my business.
Rauschenberg Robert quotes
For the first time, I wasn’t embarrassed by the look of beauty, of elegance, because when you see someone who has only one rag as their property, but it happens to be beautiful and pink and silk, beauty doesn’t have to be separated.. ..I have always said that you shouldn’t have biases, you shouldn’t have prejudices. But before that (his trip to India around 1975, fh) I’d never been able to use purple, because it was too beautiful.
Robert Rauschenberg
I still have a struggle reading (dyslexia, fh) and so I don’t read much.. ..Probably the only reason I’m painter is because I couldn’t read yet I love to write, but when I write I know what I’m writing, but when I’m reading I can’t see it, because it goes from all sides of the page at once. But that’s very good for printmaking.
Robert Rauschenberg quotes
I think the ideas (as starting point for his paintings, fh) are based upon very obvious physical facts – notions that are also simple-minded, such as, in the ‘White Paintings’, wanting to know if that was a thing to do or not, or in ‘Factum’, wondering about what the role of accident is. Those aren’t really very involved ideas.
Robert Rauschenberg
This was my first encounter with art as art (he saw ‘Pinky’ painted by Sir Thomas Lawrence and ‘The Blue Boy” painted by Thomas Gainborough).. ..somebody actually MADE those paintings.. ..(it) was the first time I realized you could be an artist.
Rauschenberg Robert
My whole area of art activity has always been addressed to working with other people.. ..You see, I personally like the sensual contact of collaborating. Ideas are not real estate. In collaboration one can accept the fact that someone else can be so sympathetic and in tune with what you’re doing, that through this they move into depths that might not be obvious if that person had been working alone in a studio with the door shut.


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