The Museum of the Gulf Coast possesses a treasure beyond measure in the Robert Rauschenberg Gallery. The gallery contains 21 works of art created and donated by world-renown artist Robert Rauschenberg. These pieces represent a wide array of media and subject matter, however all reflect Rauschenberg's signature abstract style. Most of the pieces including original works and special edition prints are Collages, which emphasize the use of color, texture and symbolism. The first piece, which greets the visitor as they enter the gallery is titled Signs. This intense collage displays the tumult of the 1960s with images of Martin Luther King, Jr., Vietnam, Janis Joplin, Robert Kennedy and civil unrest.
Ten of the pieces displayed are from a series the artist created between 1985 and 1991 called Rauschenberg's Overseas Cultural Interchange. Each print focuses on a different country including Japan, Venezuela, Cuba, Malaysia, Mexico, China, Russia, Germany, Chile and the U.S.A. Several pieces are tributes to various organizations or celebrations such as a work on rice paper commemorating Earth Day. Rauschenberg created artwork for the cover of the Talking Heads album Speaking in Tongues and posters for the Houston Grand Opera, the Texas Festival at the Kennedy Center, the Museum of the Gulf Coast as well as an autobiographical collage for the Port Arthur Public Library in 1984.
Also on display are interactive pieces including Star Quarters, consisting of four panels each 48" by 48," which hang side by side. The medium is silkscreen on mirrored plexiglass and the imagery is inspired by signs of the zodiac. The use of mirrors allows the visitor to become a part of the art, one of Rauschenberg's key interests. Lastly, the gallery contains a piece titled Can House which is a collage of tarnishes on brushed aluminum that he donated to the Museum in 1991 in honor of Governor Ann Richards. The Rauschenberg gallery was made possible by generous donations and loans from Robert Rauschenberg and a gift from Mr. and Mrs. Craig Stevenson. Several signed and unsigned posters are available in the Museum Gift Shop.
To commemorate Port Arthur's Centennial, Robert Rauschenberg created a special limited edition poster as a benefit to the Museum, 36" x 24" signed - $300, unsigned - $150. For more information contact the Museum at (409)982-7000 or email Shannon.Harris@lamarpa.edu.
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