The Museum Of Outdoor Arts Will Host A Major Retrospective Of Pop Art Pioneer Robert Rauschenberg Next Year

Courtesy of the Museum of Outdoor Arts
Robert Rauschenberg. Lotus X, from the Lotus Series, ink-jet with photogravure, 2008.

The Museum of Outdoor Arts in Englewood will host a show featuring the artwork of celebrated artist Robert Rauschenberg. 

Opening to the public on Feb. 24, “Rauschenberg: Reflections and Ruminations” will be the largest exhibition of the artist’s work ever shown in Colorado, featuring more than 50 original works loaned from private collectors and institutions. 

Rauschenberg was born Milton Ernest Rauschenberg in Port Arthur, Texas in 1925. He’s credited with having paved the way for the pop art movement with his early works and attained international success after winning the Golden Lion award at the Venice Biennale in 1964 — though his win was controversial. The artist died in 2008.

“Rauschenberg is one of the grand American masters,” MOA co-founder and executive director Cynthia Madden Leitner said. “For people in Colorado who are interested in art or who have studied art, to see a collection of 50 Rauschenberg pieces in one place is exciting … it’s a visual delight.”

Madden Leitner said her father and MOA co-founder, John Madden, knew Rauschenberg.

"My parents introduced me to Rauschenberg at his house," she said. "He was a pioneer and he had a really great spirit... and it's because of that relationship my father had that the Museum of Outdoor Arts was even able to get consideration of the exhibition."

The exhibition will focus on Rauschenberg’s process, “including reproduction, multiplication and reprocessing of images and objects to revisit the experiences of his full life,” according to a MOA release. It will showcase prints, as well as larger pieces, including his famous “Combines" series. The artist coined this term to describe a collection of works that blended elements of sculpture and painting.

“It’s been very exciting to organize this exhibition,” Dan Jacobs, exhibition curator and principal of Dan Jacobs Associates, said in a release. “MOA has given us a fantastic platform to explore the career of a truly important artist.”

The exhibition had originally been scheduled to open in April 2018, but was postponed due to an unexpected issue with obtaining some of the loaned work.  

Madden Leitner said they had spent more than a year in a curation process with one of the major private collectors when things took a turn.

“We were almost to the point of being able to stage the show and there was kind of a legal snafu,” she said. “It seemed like a minor point and that it would all be resolved before the exhibition [opened]. But as these things go sometimes, it stretched out.”

Rauschenberg: Reflections and Ruminations” runs Feb. 24 - June 13, 2020 at the Museum of Outdoor Arts in Englewood.