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Thursday, July 22, 2004

Rauschenberg in Hartford

I had a chance to run through the Robert Rauschenberg exhibition at the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford today. (And it was almost an actual run. The closest parking spot I could find was a quarter mile away, and I only had enough change in my pocket to buy 59 minutes on the parking meter. Who says you can't get anything for a nickel anymore? In downtown Hartford five cents will buy you a whole two minutes of street parking.)

The show presents work from three series: Currents from the 1970s, Gluts from the 1980s, and Scenarios from the last few years.

Several works from Gluts have been hung in a large gallery with a barreled ceiling. The space is perfect for them. The gallery gives them the room they need to breathe and allows their size to work to their advantage. In a smaller space they wouldn't be nearly as effective. It's worth seeing the show for this room alone.

The rest of the show is spotty--at best. I've been working on a piece about Ana Mendieta's move from the landscape into a studio in the early 1980s. Seeing the Rauschenberg show today gave me a new respect for Mendieta's decision to throw out her established working practice to try something new. It also made me wish Rauschenberg would take a risk even half that daring in his work. 

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