PAST POP: ROBERT RAUSCHENBERG AND JAMES ROSENQUIST GRAPHICS

March 31 - May 7, 2009

Download PDF of Catalog Here
 
Robert Rauschenberg (1925 – 2008) and James Rosenquist (1933 – ) are both highly acclaimed contemporary artists associated first and foremost with the Pop Art movement of the 1960s. Challenging tradition, Pop artists regularly incorporated into their work mass-produced images drawn from popular culture and the world of advertising art. Although the work of both artists has appeared in numerous comprehensive exhibitions at the finest museums in the world, little attention has been paid to their graphic work. In fact, this exhibition marks the first time only prints by the two artists have been shown together.

As Dr. Lewis Kachur remarks in the catalogue essay: “There are quite a few parallels between them during the 1970s, including certain shared imagery, such as JFK, wheels and tires, and newspapers. In 1971 Rosenquist preceded Rauschenberg in working at Graphicstudio in Tampa; in fact, both artists relocated to Florida early in the decade and became closer friends. They both aspired to create unusually large-scale prints, the works of both artists had a socially conscious dimension, and each lobbied for artists’ rights… Thus it is their trajectory past the Pop era that this exhibition of graphic work addresses.”

Past Pop: Robert Rauschenberg and James Rosenquist Graphics, which will be on view from March 31 through May 7, 2009, at Kean University’s Karl and Helen Burger Gallery, consists of twenty-nine prints made from 1965 through 1988. The show evolved from a class project conceived by Dr. Lewis Kachur, a professor in the art history department at Kean University. Advanced students were asked to examine twelve graphic works by Robert Rauschenberg and James Rosenquist that had been donated to Kean University years ago. The class visited several museum collections in the region in order to examine other graphic works by the two artists. They met with print curators in an effort to contextualize the prints in the Kean University collection. Dr. Kachur’s students — Kimberly Alvarado, Maria Pia Carracino, Melissa D’Amico, Danielle Fallon, Heather Ferry, Marcele Franca, Gwen Howard, Susan McGurk, Melissa Merritt, and Aaron Shum —collaborated and chose the exhibition artworks together. In addition to eight Kean prints, a number of comparative images were selected to help illuminate our understanding of and appreciation for the graphic work of these two artists. Essays by Dr. Kachur’s students can be found at the CAS

Gallery website: www.kean.edu/~gallery/Exhibitions/PastPop/Essays.html

On behalf of Kean University, I wish to thank the following lenders to the exhibition: Montclair Art Museum, The Newark Museum, O’Hara Gallery, Prudential Insurance Company of America, Estate of Robert Rauschenberg, Universal Limited Art Editions, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Our gratitude also goes to Dr. Kachur and his students for the academic efforts that they initiated and that are evident in this important exhibition. For their work in planning, coordinating, and installing the show, we are grateful to gallery assistants Christopher Clark, Mariel Collerd, Stephanie Natiello, and Joya Thompson. Special thanks also go to Dawood Farahi, President of Kean University, and Holly Logue, Acting Dean of the School of Visual and Performing Arts. We appreciate their support for Kean’s growing exhibition program and for this opportunity to investigate the graphic works of Robert Rauschenberg and James Rosenquist.

Neil Tetkowski
Director of University Galleries