Saturday, July 9, 2011

"Lunch at Bob's."

Mr. Rauschenberg Himself
Because of the kind generosity of one friend and the insistent organizational efforts of another, I spent Friday afternoon on a private tour through the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation in NYC.

The Foundation, housed in a former Catholic orphanage, is located in lower Manhattan. Since acquiring the space in the 1960's, it has been used for his studio, gallery, sometimes home, and most important, to house his foundation. Upon entering the building, I was first struck by the simple grandeur of it all - high ceilings, beautiful wood work, and the feeling of entering a somewhat sacred space.
One of the Rauschenberg private galleries.
Next, I was overwhelmed that one of the art giants of the last century actually walked these halls and created the original art works hanging throughout, including in several private galleries.
Robert Rauschenberg
Here, for my private viewing are some of the pieces I had studied in art history, read about in books, and seen in museums.

Rauschenberg Chapel Gallery
Next, my gracious host escorted me into one of the most impressive rooms of all, the former Chapel of the Catholic Orphanage, with soaring 30 feet (or higher!) ceilings, and unbelievable arched windows. The wall graced by an over-sized Rauschenberg ceramic piece. Rauschenberg worked with Japanese ceramist to perfect this exclusive technique.
Robert Rauschenberg
As we meandered through the foundation, each turn held a visual treat, revealing yet another of Rauschenberg's works from his long and prolific career.
Robert Rauschenberg.
A fellow Texan, (from Port Author, Texas), Rauschenberg experimented with a number of mediums throughout his career, from paper to ceramics, from found objects to etchings, leaving behind close to 8000 original pieces when he died in 2008.
Robert Rauschenberg.
His "combines", as the name suggests, combined numerous found objects, like this piece with two chairs and a typewriter, giving new meaning and importance to everyday objects.
Rauschenberg's coat.
Equally impressive to an fawning fan such as myself, were the personal artifacts scattered within the foundation. Above, his coat still hangs on a hook. From the front door all the way to the roof-top (with its gorgeous views!) I witnessed first hand Rauschenberg's creative genius.
Rauschenberg Book.
After feasting on the visual delights, we relaxed in the kitchen and enjoyed lunch and a glass of wine, chatting with my small group of friends. With a mental and aesthetic buzz, we bid adieu to our host, and when the large wooden door closed behind me, I found myself back out on the streets of NYC.

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