Robert Rauschenberg's contribution to Modern and Contemporary Art is inescapable. In the face of once steep skepticism from the curatorial and critical community of New York, Rauschenberg boldly blew apart the archaic restrictions of medium specificity, advancing the use of experimental techniques, collage work, painting-sculptures and sculpture-paintings (Combines), and even gifting Pop Art its quintessential medium of screen-printing (previously used almost exclusively by industry). Museums and prominent collectors quickly reversed course, seeing the power of the new forms Rauschenberg had pioneered. Through their patronage they drastically increased the artist's value, paving the way to sanctioning these new ways of visual thinking. After Rauschenberg, the dialectic between three and two-dimensional work, and the distinction between the everyday and artwork itself would never be the same.
If there was but one area within which Rauschenberg shifted the paradigm even more than through his material brilliance, it is through his unwavering belief in the power of art to do actual good - and so it is with great pride that Hamilton-Selway Fine Art presents Tribute 21, a gorgeous suite of Rauschenberg prints dedicated to twenty-one individuals who have shaped twenty-one humanitarian fields for the better.
Produced in collaboration with Master Printer, Bill Goldstone, and supported by Japanese corporation Felissimo, these works range in theme from Literature (Toni Morrison) to Peace (Mikhail Gorbachev), from Sports (Bonny Plair) to Environment (Al Gore). Though at times straightforward imagery, and at others, mysterious but poetic visual metaphor, these sought-after prints broadcast the power of single individuals to drastically change the course of humanity for the better through their given area of expertise. A perfect signature addition to any serious collection of Contemporary Art, Tribute 21 is quite a fitting representation of Rauschenberg himself and his own vast influence on visual culture today.