Leslie Sacks Contemporary, in association with Gemini G.E.L. and Universal Limited Art Editions, is pleased to announce an exhibition of works by revolutionary artist Robert Rauschenberg. The exhibition, 5 Decades of Printmaking, is a survey of Rauschenberg’s print work created at preeminent ateliers Gemini G.E.L. and Universal Limited Art Editions (ULAE).
Throughout his career, Robert Rauschenberg worked with ULAE in New York and Gemini in Los Angeles, experimenting with the artistic possibilities of the print medium. Through printmaking, he found a creative meeting point of his passions for painting and photography. In the suite Veils, 1974, Rauschenberg experimented at ULAE by dropping the atelier’s founder, Tatyana Grosman’s, handkerchief onto test stones covered with photo emulsion. At the same time, in Los Angeles at Gemini, Rauschenberg produced the Horsefeathers Thirteen, 1972 series, creating an edition in which each image was unique. These two works challenged traditional notions about the printmaking process, both in terms of technique and presentation.
Rauschenberg’s work began as a commentary on American culture, a theme evident in Publicon 1978, a sculptural multiple made with Gemini that spoke to America’s lack of spirituality. The 1980s marked a turning point, with the artist launching the Rauschenberg Overseas Culture Interchange (ROCI) program. This
development introduced the topic of foreign culture into the artist’s work, serving both as a point of contrast with American culture and as a subject in its own right. Pre-Morocco, a 1984 print created at ULAE, featured tire tread marks, recalling Rauschenberg’s work with American symbols, paired with photographs taken during his travels in Morocco.
The ROCI program ended in 1990. In the years following, Rauschenberg continued making prints based on collages of his own photographs and returned to investigating distinctive characteristics of American culture in series such as LA Uncovered, 1998 (Gemini) and Street Sounds, 1993-95 (ULAE).
A selection of Rauschenberg’s prints from the 2000s will also be exhibited, including Lotus II, 2008 from the Lotus Series, printed at ULAE. These works utilized a technically advanced printing method, continuing Rauschenberg’s enduring interest in print transfer and the incorporation of new technology. The Lotus Series was the last suite Rauschenberg completed before his death in 2008.