Here, individual artworks by Rauschenberg are examined within the scope of the artist’s work and life and within a broader art-historical and historical context. Works are also considered in relation to archival material often residing within the foundation’s holdings. 

Stoned Moon

Stoned Moon Drawing, dated October 28, 1969, records Rauschenberg’s reflections on the Apollo 11 launch in July of that same year and the lithographic series it inspired. Embedded with the artist’s writings are photographs by Sidney Felsen and Malcolm Lubliner, who documented the working process at the innovative print studio Gemini G.E.L., Los Angeles, along with official images from NASA. The right side of the composition features the rising smoke plume of the rocket launch and the first boot prints on the moon’s surface. This work, together with the thirty-four Stoned Moon lithographs and the nineteen drawings and collages for the unpublished Stoned Moon Book, provides a singular account of the space program and humankind’s first lunar landing. In the collaged text, he remarks on the environs of Cape Canaveral, Florida, “highways built yesterday past ghost towns of technology abandoned with the haste and impatience of emergency surgery.” He intimates the anthropomorphizing sentiment, “My head said for the first time moon was going to have company and knew it.” Rauschenberg’s impressions contain a mixture of trepidation and wonder that conveys the technological and astronomical sublime.