ROCI CHILE research guide

This guide provides links to a seelction of digitized or online materials related specifically to ROCI CHILE. Materials provided in this guide are for reference and research purposes only. For reproduction requests, email the archives.


In 1984, Rauschenberg traveled to Chile, visiting Santiago, the countryside, and the desert region in preparation for the next ROCI project. During his research, Rauschenberg visited a copper mine and foundry outside of Antofagasta, which led him to use copper supports for his series of silkscreened photographs entitled Copperhead (1985/1989). The surfaces of these works are patinated with tarnishing agents to create somber hues. Rauschenberg’s choice of copper was a sign of solidarity with the Chilean people, many of whom worked in the mines and against Chile’s Dictator, President Augusto Pinochet, whose reign of terror had begun in 1973 and did not end until 1998. Due to Pinochet’s repressive regime, Rauschenberg met with students, artists, and political activists in Catholic churches—the only trusted institution in which the people felt safe to congregate. The ROCI CHILE exhibition opened at the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Santiago, in July1985. Dissident poet José Donoso contributed a text to the exhibition catalogue, partially quelling criticism that the exhibition was presented in a national museum.


Having visited a copper mine and foundry during research for Rauschenberg Overseas Culture Interchange/ROCI CHILE, Rauschenberg created a series of paintings using copper supports for silkscreened photographs and tarnishing agents. The Copperheads made in 1985 are part of ROCI CHILE

View select Copperhead series artworks (RRF website)
View select ROCI Chile artworks (RRF website)

View artwork checklist (PDF)


Archival Documents 
Archival documents including awards, itineraries, floor plan, invitations and other materials related to Rauschenberg’s Chile trip and the ROCI CHILE exhibition. 

View select digitized archival materials (PDF)


Exhibition catalogue for the Rauschenberg Overseas Culture Interchange: ROCI CHILE exhibition, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Santiago, July 17–Aug. 18, 1985. Jointly published for three ROCI exhibitions: Mexico, Chile, and Venezuela. Introductions by Sofía Imber and Nena Ossa, essay by José Donoso, previously published introduction by Robert R. Littman, previously published essay by Robert Hughes, previously published statement by Rauschenberg, and previously published poem by Octavio Paz.

View catalogue (PDF)


Documentary Photographs 
Documentary photographs including installation images, travel snapshots and other images related to Rauschenberg’s trip and the ROCI CHILE exhibition.

View select digitized documentary photographs (PDF)
View black and white contact sheets of exhibition installation views (PDF)
View digitized snapshot contact sheets (PDF)


Oral Histories
Oral history transcripts of individuals involved in ROCI.

See ROCI Research Guide (webpage)


Press releases in Spanish and English including distribution list.

View materials (PDF)
See ROCI Research Guide (webpage)


Rauschenberg's Photography
Contact and slide sheets for photographs taken by Rauschenberg during his travels in Chile.

View black and white contact sheets (PDF)
View 35mm slide scans and slide pages (PDF)


Raw and edited footage of Rauschenberg’s ROCI-related travels and documentation of ROCI exhibitions.

See ROCI Research Guide (webpage)


Other Materials (not digitized)
The majority of archival materials related to ROCI are not yet digitized and must be accessed onsite at the Foundation. Comprehensive information on these collections is found on the Archives Collections webpage. To find listings on related materials once on this page, scroll to the desired collection, download the finding aid PDF, and keyword search for "ROCI."

Below is a list of recommended collections to search. Email archives for help or questions.

  • Audiovisual Collection
  • Charles Yoder records related to the Rauschenberg Studio
  • Donald Saff records on Rauschenberg Overseas Culture Interchange (ROCI)
  • Photograph Collection
  • Robert Rauschenberg papers
Robert Rauschenberg standing behind a balustrade, with two giant caryatids, columns carved in the shape of classical female figures, on either side of him.

Robert Rauschenberg at Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, the venue of the Rauschenberg Overseas Culture Interchange: ROCI CHILE exhibition, Santiago, Chile, circa 1985. Photo: Terry Van Brunt.