Warhol portrait of Robert Rauschenberg, location: Andrea Caratsch’s gallery in Zurich. Made in 1962.
Perhaps, this is, the earliest portrait of a living sitter in Warhol’s mature career, and one of his very earliest silkscreens. (not count his movie-star images as portraits). That means this work is a first experiment in the genre that filled the final two-thirds of Warhol’s career.
The 1962 portrait features one of the cutting-edge artists that Warhol was most keen on emulating, and whose friendship he had only just managed to win. Average museumgoers, and even experts, don’t always realize how deeply committed Warhol was to the classic, egghead avant-garde, and how deeply immersed he was in it at this point in his career; this portrait stands as his declaration of that commitment. It also comes at just the moment when Warhol was able to turn the tables on Rauschenberg, by offering to help his elder learn the new photo-silkscreen technique. (Although the tale’s also told that Rauschenberg taught him.)
Rauschenberg was also some kind of model for Warhol of what it was to be a successful gay artist, even if he had once rejected Warhol as too “swish” for his tastes. I think you can read Rauschenberg’s un-swish-ness from the way Warhol depicts him here, in an image that has none of the camp playfulness of Warhol’s Pop works from this era. Drowning in a deep-blue sea, Rauschenberg has stronger echoes in this portrait of his own Black Paintings, or of Warhol’s later “Disasters,” than of Warhol’s “Troy Donohue” or “Marilyn” silkscreens. You could almost read this dour, barely-there portrait as being in mourning for, or at least a token of, Rauschenberg’s closeted life. With its figure small and lost, gazing up into the heavens, this is one of the most wistful images Warhol ever made. All that blackness, and the filmic stutters running down the surface of the work, remind me most of Warhol’s dark and cryptic “Shadow” silkscreens from 1978.
- via Blouin artinfo & Blake Gopnik
As cultural and artistic heritage in Syria continues to face significant losses, two United States institutions have partnered with the Syrian Interim Government’s “Heritage Task Force” to share strategies for mitigating the dangers faced by museums and other sites.
Many in the art world were staggered by recent reports that the Italian curator Germano Celant is being paid €750,000 to organise a pavilion for the Milan Expo 2015. Celant’s fee, and the incredulity it provoked, raises questions about how much curators are typically paid for organising biennials and large-scale international exhibitions.
The Art Newspaper surveyed around 40 international curators and biennial organisers; our research shows that biennials usually pay their top curators less than one-sixth of Celant’s total fee.