Robert Rauschenberg

Tuesday 13 May 2008

There is in Rauschenberg, between him and what he picks up to use, the quality of an encounter. For the first time.
Having made the empty canvases (A canvas is never empty.), Rauschenberg became the giver of gifts. Gifts, unexpected and unnecessary, are ways of saying Yes to how it is, a holiday. The gifts he gives are not picked up in distant lands but are things we already have… and so we are converted to the enjoyment of our possessions. Converted from what? From wanting what we don’t have, art as a pained struggle.
To Whom It May Concern: The white paintings came first; my silent piece came later.
– John Cage, “On Robert Rauschenberg, Artist, And His Work” (1961).