Apr 22, 2015


Earth Day, 1970


The protection of the planet has been central to the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation’s mission since its founding by the artist in 1990. In 1991, through the sale of an edition and poster designed by Rauschenberg, the foundation raised  funds and greater awareness for the Earth Pledge that was announced at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) that same year. The foundation continues to uphold that original pledge “to make the earth a secure and hospitable home for present and future generations.”

For the next thirty days, in celebration of the forty-fifth anniversary of Earth Day, the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation will highlight some of the grants and programs that extend the artist’s legacy as a champion of the environment. You can join the conversation by following the foundation on Twitter and Facebook. News items include:

Today the foundation is announcing $250,000 in grants to agencies working in Southwest Florida, including a grant to the Sanibel Captiva Conservation Fund, which focuses much of its work on the preservation of Florida’s fragile wetlands and other ecosystems. All of the awardees were identified through a partnership with the Southwest Florida Community Foundation to advance social innovation in the region. Southwest Florida is an area where Rauschenberg lived and worked for forty years and a place of ongoing investment for the foundation. To learn more about this partnership and the $250,000 in grants, you can read more here.

You can also read the newly posted Art in Context to learn more about Rauschenberg’s commitment to the environment in his art and activities. Among the highlighted artworks is Rauschenberg’s Earth Day poster, created for the first annual Earth Day on April 22, 1970, to benefit the American Environment Foundation in Washington, D.C. The poster is the first of many editioned works that the artist produced to support the social and political causes most important to him.

This Monday, April 27, 2015, will mark the beginning of a month-long gathering of artists, scientists, engineers, and activists at the Rauschenberg Residency on Captiva Island, Florida. Entitled Rising Waters Confab, the meeting aims to spark new thinking and to influence civic will toward finding and spreading solutions for the rising waters of climate change. Participants will contribute to a blog that captures key themes and ideas.

Over the next month, the foundation will share more highlights of its work to support a healthy, sustainable planet, including announcing the inaugural grantees of its Climate Change Solutions Fund, a new initiative that spurs the use of cultural and civic engagement to advance solutions to global warming.  

Apr 17, 2015


Photos: Sage Sohier


During his residency, Tijuana-based artist Marcos Ramirez printed the front page of a different international newspaper each day for thirty-three days and screen-printed imagery that he had photographed around Captiva. Later, he will add text to create a personal journal that is juxtaposed against his worldview. Inspired by Rauschenberg’s legacy of printmaking and collage, Ramirez chose to integrate similar techniques into his work during the residency.

Other artists in Residency 11 were also influenced by the ways in which Rauschenberg worked. David Martine and Shawne Major experimented with screen printing with their individual art practices; Martine created three murals as he worked directly in Rauschenberg’s former studio, and which enabled him to step back in time to imagine Rauschenberg’s experimentation process; and Major also found the residency invigorating and plans to incorporate Rauschenberg’s methods into her next mixed-media works.

Catherine Chalmers arrived in Captiva with the idea to make screen prints but found it led to something else: “I brought several images for this purpose and when printing them into black and white and adding one color during the preparation, I inadvertently discovered an exciting way to create digital paintings. Although this finding led me away from making screen prints, I would not have discovered this new process without trying to manipulate the images for the screen. I am completely thrilled to have found a new method in which to work with my vast and beloved body of photographs.”

James Leary came to the residency in early March with a plan to complete the first draft of a screenplay, which he achieved. Yet two unforeseen projects also emerged: A series of 300 drawings and what turned out to be, in his words, “a complete surprise,” learning the process to create cyanotypes and executing a series of prints in collaboration with the art critic Charlie Schultz. Schultz also completed a writing project on photography and industry in America.

Photographers Chandra McCormick and Keith Calhoun finally found the time to print their Kodachrome slides that had been waterlogged during Hurricane Katrina, and which they had kept in a freezer that was found on the street to preserve them.

Two artists during the residency used elements that had washed ashore. Diane Schenandoah sculpted driftwood and wood from Australian pine and Sea Grape trees. Charles Lindsay used the carcasses of horseshoe crabs in a sculpture piece for an upcoming exhibition. He noted, “The re-discovery of horseshoe crabs is significant by adding a perfect symbol species to the part of my artistic mission that considers nonhuman intelligence and vast time scales. My challenge continues to be about bringing nature, technology, and the nature of existence into the contemporary art domain. The pace and arc of this project speaks well to adaptation and to responding to a location and situation, which is a high compliment to the residency itself.”

Apr 14, 2015



Visit the Artists in Residence page to learn about Residency 12 and Rising Waters Confab.