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Rauschenberg's Legacy

Rauschenberg's Legacy

As senior curator at the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, David White 62 IA honors his former colleague's legacy through a variety of projects related to the artist.

Robert Rauschenberg Foundation senior curator David White 62 IA

After working with Robert Rauschenberg for 28 years – right up until his death in 2008 – David White 62 IA knows his work better than anyone.

Now, as senior curator at the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, he continues to oversee all exhibitions, publications and projects related to the artist, including the current exhibition Robert Rauschenberg: Spreads and Related Works.

When the show opened in May at The Glass House – the gorgeous mid-20th-century modern home designed by Philip Johnson – White gave a 20-minute gallery talk (see video below) that opens with his memories of RISD and the story of how he first met the famous architect and came to work for Rauschenberg.

Both stem from when he met and made lifelong friends with the wonderfully flamboyant David Whitney 63 IA, the late curator, collector and art lover perhaps best known as Johnson’s partner of 45 years.

In 1960 it was Whitney who urged White to go see his first Rauschenberg show – of 34 new illustrations for Dante’s Inferno – at Leo Castelli Gallery in NYC. “I’d never seen Rauschenberg before,” White explains in the video. “I was completely blown away and fell in love with the work.”

In his gallery talk, White speaks of Rauschenberg’s strong connection to materials and the “swing in Bob’s work from something very simple to something very complex over the course of his career – he would go back and forth.” He also points out that, like so many other artists, Rauschenberg was loathe to explain his work and felt instead “that the viewer is the person who completes the artwork.”

The Rauschenberg show of paintings and works on paper continues through August 15 at The Glass House in New Canaan, CT.

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