Mar 20, 2017

Black and White Photo of Robert Rauschenberg with Gold Star

Rauschenberg at Gemini G.E.L., Los Angeles, during the Stoned Moon project, 1969

A black-and-white photograph of Rauschenberg smiling broadly, wearing a star badge on his shirt, was taken by Sidney Felsen, while Rauschenberg was working at Gemini G.E.L. on his Stoned Moon project.

On the invitation of NASA, Rauschenberg journeyed to Cape Canaveral, Florida in July 1969 to witness the Apollo 11 space launch—the first mission to land man on the moon. The Stoned Moon project, consisting of thirty-four lithographs, was created by Rauschenberg and produced in collaboration with Ken Tyler, a master printer at Los Angeles–based Gemini G.E.L. studios. Source images for the edition came from NASA charts, maps, and pictures he received at the launch.

So why the star while working on this project? According to a story shared by Sidney Felsen in his oral history, it was all in good fun: “Bob was born and grew up in Port Arthur, Texas. Texas is associated with sheriffs and so somebody—one of the wise-ass printers in the shop—decided to make a sheriff’s badge and give it to Bob. It’s gold, actually. It’s a gold star.” A gag that shows the playfulness and personal connection Rauschenberg had with the printers.

Felsen described Rauschenberg as “a super collaborator, in the sense that he was very human in his approach. He appreciated everybody’s efforts.” The star illustrates collaboration at its best.

“Bob was always at the press, talking to the printers, cracking jokes, making humorous remarks. Made everybody happy. But at the same time was looking at the art coming off the press. When the proofing session was over and he was saying goodbye, you could really see tears in people’s eyes. They just loved having him around.”

Perhaps this is why the star, well-worn and faded, can still be found in the archives as part of Rauschenberg’s treasures.

Learn more about the Stoned Moon project.

Read all of Sidney Felsen’s oral history.

Explore the archives.

Mar 20, 2017

In summer 2017, the Archives will launch a Rauschenberg research travel fund, a new opportunity that will provide partial support for costs related to travel and living expenses that scholars may incur in order to do research at the Rauschenberg Foundation and its Archives.


The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation will provide one-time project-based support to scholars, academics, artists, and other researchers who can demonstrate a compelling need to use the archival materials onsite at the Foundation. To be eligible, applicants must:

  • reside 50 miles or more away from the Foundation;
  • not have received a grant or other funding from the Foundation in the past 3 years;
  • be at the graduate level and above.

The application will be open to U.S.-based and international individuals. Please note, priority will be given to independent researchers or those affiliated with institutions with limited resources.


The Rauschenberg research travel fund will provide partial support for research costs and can range from $200 - $2,000, depending on travel distance. Examples of eligible costs include:

  • Travel costs including airfare and local transit
  • Living expenses while researching including hotel and meals


Applications will open in summer 2017. Interested individuals can email to request to be notified when application is available.

Mar 19, 2017

Photo: Courtesy Williams College Museum of Art

Robert Rauschenberg: Autobiography brings together 26 original works of art with 56 archival objects primarily on loan from the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation and centers on the artist’s monumental print, Autobiography, 1968. The exhibition will be on view at WCMA from March 17 through August 20, 2017.

The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation has been processing the artist’s archives over the last two years and recently made them fully accessible to scholars. The  Foundation’s “Shuffle” program facilitates collaborations with college and university museums, in which works from the Foundation’s art collection are made available for exhibition and study. The WCMA project is the first ever to mine the archives for an exhibition and a college course. In the Art History/Museum class, Robert Rauschenberg Art, Archives and Exhibitions, developed and led by professor of art C. Ondine Chavoya and curator of contemporary art Lisa Dorin, Williams students researched the artist’s life, work, and the often blurry lines between the two. The students studied the history and theory of archives and how exhibitions make use of them, and spent two full days in the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation Archives in New York working closely with Francine Snyder, the Foundation’s director of archives and scholarship.

Read more about the exhibition > 

Mar 6, 2017

Visit the Artists-in-Residence page to learn more about this group of artists.