ROCI JAPAN research guide

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


Rauschenberg’s engagement with Japan and Japanese printmaking and design techniques began in 1964 when the artist was touring with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company. Later, in 1982, Rauschenberg worked at the Otsuka Ohmi Ceramics Company in Shigaraki where he created “ceramic paintings” by transferring silk-screened images to ceramic supports; motifs reminiscent of the Combines as well as imagery from ancient and contemporary Japan were found in the Japanese Clayworks (1982–83/1985) and combined with Western art icons in the Japanese Recreational Clayworks (1982–83/1985/1989). In 1984, using photographs he took in Japan that were then transferred onto canvas or fabric, Rauschenberg began to make artworks specifically for ROCI JAPAN. These works, as well as examples of the ceramic works made in Shigaraki, were exhibited in December 1986 at the Setagaya Museum of Art, Tokyo. 


This series of paintings were made for ROCI JAPAN, part of the Rauschenberg Overseas Culture Interchange project, and exhibited at the Setagaya Museum of Art in Tokyo in 1986.

View select ROCI JAPAN artworks (RRF website)
View artwork checklist (PDF)  


Catalog of an exhibition, Rauschenberg Overseas Culture Interchange: ROCI JAPAN, held at Setagaya Museum of Art, Tokyo, November 22–December 28, 1986. Essay by Donald Saff, interview with Rauschenberg by Yoshiaki Tono, previously published essay by Robert Hughes, and previously published statement by Rauschenberg.

View catalogue (PDF)


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

View select digitized documentary photographs (PDF)
View digitized snapshot contact sheets (PDF)


Oral Histories
Oral history transcripts of individuals involved in ROCI.

See ROCI Research Guide (webpage)


Correspondence, distribution lists, and press clipping for ROCI JAPAN.

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


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

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.

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
A large, colorful, cylindrical sculpture sits at the center of an outdoor courtyard. In the background, museum visitors sit at tables, while others look at artworks that hang on the courtyard walls.

Installation view of the Rauschenberg Overseas Culture Interchange: ROCI JAPAN exhibition at Setagaya Museum of Art, Tokyo, Japan, November 1986. Photo: Unattributed.