Tethering: Wall to Floor — Painting to Sculpture

1960s through 1980s

A wall-mounted element that is tethered to a sculptural piece on the floor is a recurring device in Rauschenberg’s artworks from the 1960s through the 1980s. Several examples from the Combines, CardboardsVenetiansJammersand Gluts series could be described, in the words of Jasper Johns, as “painting playing the game of sculpture.” While the wall and floor elements further emphasize the ethos of the Combines with the disparate forms and hybridized media, the tether functions simultaneously as drawing (line), sculpture (dimensional), and gesture (connection). Neither the wall nor floor element appears subordinate to the other, therefore the accepted compositional hierarchy is upended, and the tether delicately suspends the irreconcilable elements of the artwork in a state of dynamic equilibrium.

Nettle by Robert Rauschenberg, 1960
Nettle
Black Market
Blue Eagle, 1961
Blue Eagle
Magician II, 1961
Magician II
Slug, 1961
Slug
1/2 Gals. / AAPCO (Cardboard), 1971
1/2 Gals. / AAPCO (Cardboard)
Glass / Channel / Via Panama (Cardboard), 1971
Glass / Channel / Via Panama (Cardboard)
Franciscan II
San Pantalone (Venetian) 1973
San Pantalone (Venetian)
White Sheet
Trowel (Jammer)
Gooey Duck Late Summer Glut, 1987
Gooey Duck Late Summer Glut