Tuesday, May 13, 2008

In Memoriam - Robert Rauschenberg

Robert Rauschenberg
1925 - 2008

Robert Rauschenberg, a longtime Captiva, Florida resident considered to be among the world's leading contemporary artists, died at his home on May 12, 2008. He was 82.

“European art critics have said there will be two artists remembered for the 20th century — Picasso for the first half and Rauschenberg for the second half,” said Mary Lynn Kotz, whose biography, “Rauschenberg / Art and Life,” was originally published in 1990.

He redefined painting with innovations such as all-white paintings. He reinvented printing-making with new processes. He revolutionized collage by combining media. He mastered photography. He designed lighting and sets for dance. He made sculptures out of found objects. [...]

Rauschenberg was a great philanthropist with many causes. One especially close to home was the Abuse Counseling and Treatment center, also known as ACT.

Rauschenberg was part of the ACT family and part of her personal family, said Jennifer Benton, ACT executive director and artist Darryl Pottorf’s sister.

“We’ve known him for the past 30 years. He was someone you could have the best time with but he was very serious about his art work. He was very passionate about family and friends.”

Rauschenberg was the inspiration for the first Arts for ACT auction, which has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars and is now celebrating its 20th anniversary, Benton said.

Rauschenberg began by donating a print to the auction and kept donating his work through the years, he said.

One of the most important American artists of the twentieth century, since the mid-1950's to the early 2000's, Rauschenberg pioneered new approaches to an extraordinarily diverse range of media. The many aspects of his prolific creativity are explored in this film, which draws on the ideal resource of a major retrospective of his work at the Guggenheim Museum, New York. At his studio on the island of Captiva, Rauschenberg gives a relaxed and candid interview and is seen at work.

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