Robert Rauschenberg - Storyline I (from the Reels (B + C) series)
American 1925 - 2008
Storyline I (from the Reels (B + C) series), 1968
Lithograph, 21.5 x 17 inches
Edition 54/62
Gemini G.E.L.

Alumni Gift

Born in Port Arthur, Texas in 1925, Robert Rauschenberg imagined himself first as a minister and later as a pharmacist. It wasn't until 1947, while in the U.S. Marines that he discovered his aptitude for drawing and his interest in the artistic representation of everyday objects and people. After leaving the Marines he studied art in Paris on the G.I. Bill, but quickly became disenchanted with the European art scene. After less than a year he moved to North Carolina, where the country's most visionary artists and thinkers, such as Joseph Albers and Buckminster Fuller, were teaching at Black Mountain College. There, with exciting young artists such as dancer Merce Cunningham and musician John Cage, Rauschenberg began what was to be an artistic revolution. Soon, North Carolina country life began to seem small and he left for New York to make it as a painter. There, amidst the chaos and excitement of city life Rauschenberg realized the full extent of what he could bring to painting, and other art forms.

The six color lithographs of Reels (B+C) take their imagery from Bonnie and Clyde, Arthur Penn’s groundbreaking 1967 movie that explored the defiance of authority and the glamorization of violence. The film raised the depiction of brutality and sexuality to a new level of candor in American cinema. Rauschenberg assembled stills from the movie, focusing on lead actors Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway. He colored and streaked his compositions with fuchsia, canary yellow, lime green, and deep purple. Psychedelic in intensity, these colors amplify Rauschenberg’s strident metaphor for the American experience.