For more than three decades Robert Rauschenberg created works at Gemini G.E.L., the world-famous multiple workshop in West Hollywood. A retrospective of Rauschenberg’s creative achievement at Gemini G.E.L. is being organized by the Armory Center for the Arts, where it will be on view in the Caldwell Gallery, January 17 through March 21, 2010. The exhibition, Rauschenberg at Gemini, will have a public opening Saturday, January 16, 7–9 p.m. The exhibition is organized by Jay Belloli, Director of Gallery Programs at the Armory. Its initiation was approved by the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation.
For about 35 years, Robert Rauschenberg produced more than 250 different prints at Gemini G.E.L., which was organized in 1966 and is still run by two of the founders, Sidney Felsen and Stanley Grinstein. At Gemini, Rauschenberg transformed what a “print” multiple was, not only in scale, but in how variable one print in a single edition could be from another; in how many physical dimensions it could have; in how many media a single multiple could involve; and in how the viewer could interact with the multiple and make it different. No other artist has ever pushed the boundaries of what “printmaking” could be as much as Rauschenberg. As Stanley Grinstein has said, “Rauschenberg taught us what Gemini could be.”
It required a very special environment to make all these innovations and explorations possible—a place that not only had the technical facilities required, but the unwavering desire to facilitate the artist’s vision, and the willingness to take risks. This is what Gemini so quickly became shortly after Rauschenberg walked through the door in early 1967. The sense of exciting collaboration, and unwavering trust, continued into 2001.
Many of Rauschenberg’s most famous prints, print series, and multiples are included in the exhibition, such as Booster, the artist’s famous X-ray self-portrait and his first print at Gemini. Monumental lithographs from the Stoned Moon series, based on the American Apollo Moon exploration program are represented, as well as his innovative Cardbird Door. Prints are also included from his two handmade paper series in the 1970s, as well as his three-dimensional editions PUBLICONS, Sling-Shots Lit series, and Borealis Shares series.
A number of Rauschenberg’s prints were made with the assistance of Gemini G.E.L. staff in France, India, and China. And several series were inspired by his travels in connection with the internationally groundbreaking Rauschenberg Overseas Cultural Interchange that the artist initiated, including the Tibetan Keys and Locks, Samarkand Stitches, and Marrakesh series. Finally, the artist often made prints for political or environmental causes, and his lithograph for the first Earth Day in 1970 is included, as well as for former vice-presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro. Finally, a sizeable number of prints in the exhibition employ the artist’s photographs of Los Angeles, a city he came to love.
An extensive color-illustrated catalogue will accompany the exhibition, including an essay by the curator on Rauschenberg’s work at Gemini G.E.L. On Saturday, March 6, 7 p.m., there will be a public interview about the artist’s career at this famous workshop with Gemini’s founders, Stanley Grinstein and Sidney Felsen. Admission will be free.
The exhibition is made possible by the generous support of Debbie and Bernie Babcock, and Gemini G.E.L.
Admission to the Armory’s Caldwell Gallery is a suggested donation of $5. Armory members, students, seniors and parents of Armory students are free. Rauschenberg at Gemini will be on view at the Armory, 145 North Raymond Avenue, Pasadena, and is open Tuesday – Sunday, noon-5 p.m. The Armory is easily accessible from the Gold Line Memorial Park Station in Pasadena. For information about Armory exhibitions and events, the public may call 626.792.5101 x122 or visit the Armory website at www.armoryarts.org <http://www.armoryarts.org/>