Monday, June 05, 2017

Rauschenberg in The New Yorker

Just back from my PlayLabs reading of Yucca Corridor at The Great Plains Theatre Conference. On the plane I was reading a New Yorker and enjoyed this review by Peter Schjeldahl of a show at MOMA called “Robert Rauschenberg: Among Friends." Several passages from it made me think, if I was still blogging, I'd post this stuff on FWL. So here goes--
Rauschenberg’s integrity, while unimpeachable, never had much to do with high standards of art. (Johns and Twombly far outshine him in that regard.) It was a commitment to sheer activity, with friends at hand, if not involved.  
He was a performance artist, first and last. You respond to his works not with an absorption in their quality but with a vicarious share in his brainstorming excitement while making them. For a time, momentously, what he did caught a wave of history and drove it farther inland than could otherwise have been the case. But even when he was reduced to being a beachcomber of his own legacy, the world was a better place with him in it than it is without him, now.
Related: I've always been proud of my old post about bobrauschenbergamerica, which you can find here (with a bonus post here).