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American Master Rauschenberg Opens Latest Exhibit

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An exhibition of new works titled Scenarios and Short Stories by American Master Robert Rauschenberg and dedicated to the memory of his mother, Dora Rauschenberg, will open at the Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette on Sat., May 21, 2005.

The exhibit will be complemented by collaborative works that Rauschenberg created with fellow artist, Darryl Pottorf, and the photography of Christopher Rauschenberg, son of Robert Rauschenberg.

Robert Rauschenberg has become known as one of the most innovative artists of the 20th century. He found his signature style in the mid 1950s by embracing materials traditionally outside of the artist’s reach.

He covered a canvas with house paint, inked the wheel of a car and ran it over paper to create a painting, and ultimately cemented his place in art history with what he termed “combines.” One of the first and most famous combines was entitled “Monogram” and consisted of a stuffed angora goat, a tire, a police barrier, the heel of a shoe, a tennis ball, and paint.

Robert Rauschenberg defined the course of modern art in the second half of the 20th century. In 1998 The Guggenheim Museum put on its largest exhibition ever with a four hundred work retrospective by Rauschenberg. The new works included in Scenarios and Short Stories opening at the University Art Museum on May 21st reflect Rauschenberg’s unmistakable collage-based style.

“ There’s a poetic innocence to Rauschenberg’s Scenarios and Short Stories,” says one of America’s most distinguished art critics, Donald Kuspit. “They’re prose poems with a strong Symbolist undertone.” Kuspit goes on to suggest that Rauschenberg’s visual objects are coded entries in a private diary, with personal and transcendental meaningfulness.

Donald Kuspit will present a lecture entitled “Robert Rauschenberg, Innovation and Risk” at the Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum, 710 East St. Mary Blvd. on Wed., May 18, 2005 at 7 p.m. as a part of a two week-long series of events celebrating the opening of Rauschenberg, Pottorf, Rauschenberg.

Darryl Pottorf and Christopher Rauschenberg’s works will be shown in collaboration with Robert Rauschenberg’s for this exhibit. Characterized as members of the School of Rauschenberg by Donald Kuspit, each of these artists is original in his own right. Pottorf, once Rauschenberg’s assistant and collaborator, creates photography-based multimedia works that are expansive and more thematically concentrated.

Christopher Rauschenberg, preeminent Oregon photographer and Robert’s son, presents a series of images recently captured in Europe and South America. He shoots the images sequentially and then mounts them in a disjunctive line, representing an aesthetic transcendence over a sometimes devastating reality.

In addition to the Kuspit lecture, there will be “A Conversation with the Artists” at Burke Hall Theatre, University of Lafayette, at 7 p.m. on Thurs., May 19 that will include Robert Rauschenberg, Darryl Pottorf, and Christopher Rauschenberg as well as acclaimed choreographer Trisha Brown and saxophonist, composer and artist Richard Landry.

The “Conversation” is free to the public. A gala opening to benefit the Museum will preview the exhibition from 7 to 9 p.m. on Sat., May 21. Tickets are $100 per person and can be purchased at Abdallas, à la Carte, Begneaud’s Pharmacy and Fine Gifts, Café des Amis in Breaux Bridge, Charley G’s, Gallery 912, Jefferson Street Market, the Kitchen Shop at Grand Coteau, Marshall’s Home and Garden Showplace, Molli, Natalee, Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum and Pieces of Eight.

The Rauschenberg, Pottorf, Rauschenberg exhibition will hang in the University Art Museum through Sept. 3, 2005.

The Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum is one of Acadiana’s newest architectural landmark and one of the most distinguished museums on the Gulf Coast. The museum has already hosted an impressive exhibition schedule including the first national traveling exhibition of American sculptor Deborah Butterfield, Picasso Edition Ceramics from The Edward Weston Collection and Arthur Kern’s three-dimensional images of the horse.

The museum is located at 710 East St. Mary Blvd. in Lafayette’s Oil Center. Hours are Tues.-Sat., 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission prices are Adult $5, Senior Citizen $4, Student (5-17) $3, Adult Groups of 20 or more $4, Student Groups of 20 or more $3. For general information, call 337-482-2278, or visit www.louisiana.edu/uam. For membership information, call 337-482-0817 or e-mail leigham@louisiana.edu.