The ghostly marks of an act of erasure. With Kevin Gebhard as Robert Rauschenberg. Music by John P. DiCosmo.
WHEN CHOREOGRAPHING THE DANCE PIECE LINOLEUM (1966), Robert Rauschenberg employed the same logic of assemblage he used in his signature painting-and-sculpture hybrids, called Combines. The actions of the dancers were determined by the props they were paired with: Steve Paxton’s body was enveloped by an elongated chicken coop, leaving only his arms free to maneuver across the floor; Alex Hay trudged about with both his legs caught between the springs of a bed frame. Recorded at the WNET studios in New York, the film version of Linoleum further connected the piece to assemblage by superimposing reels of footage over one another. Though Rauschenberg is strongly associated with such strategies of layering, collage, and addition, one of his best-known works, Erased de Kooning Drawing (1953), is an act of radical subtraction. It’s famous in part for the contentious encounter between Rauschenberg and Willem de Kooning that marks the work’s inception—the story of which Rauschenberg has since told, and retold, numerous times. At Triple Canopy's The Invisible Grammar, held last November at MoMA PS1, Andres Laracuente spliced together recordings of two such tellings and, with actor Kevin Gebhard, reanimated Rauschenberg’s words, adding another layer to the legend.
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