I stepped into another world last Sunday. My son and his family escorted me to San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art (SFMoMA). We took BART from Dublin, California to a stop two blocks from the museum. The last time I remember being in the city was in 2002, when I had to get a visa for my shelling trip to Brazil.
We had lunch at a nice breakfast and lunch place that we found between the train and the MoMA. It was interesting to see sleek, high rise buildings next to older ones with all sorts of architectural decorations on their upper floors.
The museum has seven floors. I suggested that we start by seeing the exhibit I had come to see, the
work of Robert Rauschenberg, titled “Erasing the Rules.”
I had heard about this exhibit last summer when it was at the MoMA in New York, and scheduled to come to SFMoMA in November. For me this was a must see.
I first saw some of his work in Cincinnati in 1970. I’ve seen pictures of his work from time to time, but I had not seen the actual work. Of course, you never know if going to see a show will be worth the effort until you have made the journey. I was not disappointed Sunday. It is a fabulous exhibit.
The exhibit has paintings, drawings, assemblages, collages, videos of his collaboration with dancers, diagrams of how he planned what he wanted to make – on and on it went from section to section. There was so much it was overwhelming.
This man worked large. And small. He used everything – cardboard, fabric, metal, wood, stones, rope, zippers, newspaper, transfers, photography, silk screen, oil, enamel, ink, watercolor, crayons, car parts, even mud.
He was mixed-media before anyone knew what that meant. After about twenty minutes, I concluded that I am putting way too many interesting items into our trash or recycling bin. It took us about two and a half hours to work our way through all his work that was shown.
Of course, there is a book of this huge exhibit. I couldn’t pass it by. It measures 9 ¾ in. x 12 in. and is 1 3/8 in. thick, with 412 pages. It details how his career developed and contains items that were not included in the display.
Now, I can read about what I saw and remember how each piece looked. I can study his composition, which I find hard to do while I’m walking through a museum.
I didn’t take photos, but Jeremy did, and you can see them on my Facebook page. If you live near San Francisco you should go see this. But hurry, it closes on March 25.
Riding the train back toward home, I was mentally going through my stash, recalling the materials I have in abundance that other artists are not using in their work. Those are the things I should play with to see what they will do. Forget the rules. Improvise. Ask what if . . .?