A Gift In Your Pocket
When it comes to contemporary art, few command respect like the name Bob Rauschenberg. The breadth, scope, and quality of his ground breaking works made Bob one of the most influential artists, ever.
In a time when many artists achieve success through social media, political pandering, and relationships. Raushenberg achieved success for all the right reasons, open mindedness, work ethic, and most importantly, unparalleled talent.
And I can wax on about the genius of Bob's Experimental style, however, that is not what this exhibit it about. Because Bob Raushenberg did not accomplish "his" feats alone. The sheer numbers of the works required a team of people to collaborate, and make the vision a reality.
Watch the youtube video on Part 1 below We will be discussing :
Bobs Army | the 1/4 mile painting | Bob's Mother, Dora | Rauschenberg's "right hand man? | ROCI, Rauschenberg Overseas Culture Interchange | Neon Bicycle At Gugenheim | Bradley Jeffries the communicator, the gatekeeper | Rauschenberg Waterworks series | Laury Getford, color transfer photography | Rauschenberg Aprons silk screens
Video Transcript Part #1
Hi this is ryan lutz and this is part two of a two-part series that is a guided walkthrough of an art exhibition at the Bob Rauschenberg gallery in fort myers florida.
This exhibition is a gift in your pocket a tribute in remembrance of bobby Jeffries who was bob rauschenberg's longtime secretary this these videos both of these videos are guided by bob's longtime fabricator of 26 years lawrence voytek so this is a really cool opportunity to learn about bob rauschenberg's work directly from not as close as you can get to the horse's mouth so i'm going to turn it over to lawrence for the second portion of this two-part video series
we get into some of bob's photographs and bradley used to spot the photographs amel frey her husband would print them up in the dark room and there's always little little spots and at one time bob gave bradley something and said you're the one that i always put on the spot so it's and when you do this spot
Can you explain what you mean by that? When you're in the darkroom when you print stuff up it might be a piece of dust and then there'll be a white spot. You'd have to take the the full color or full spectrum of grays and blacks and you would fix the spots. So that it you wouldn't see that and that, bradley would spot almost all of bob's photos.
This is bob's thumbprint after he had his stroke he couldn't sign his name so he would thumb print things.
This is hard to see, this is a borealis. The thing that's hard to see, there's a horse and you have to have a raking light to be able to see where the horse. But the borealis this there's no paint on it bob's silk screen printed with varnish, (acid resistant varnish) and then we had patina chemicals. Bob would paint with the patina chemicals. I came up with that idea for bob. It was one of my favorites, the borealis series.
This is a necklace that bob made for Bradley. Bob was in italy and he was to make some gluts he went to a scrap yard he brought stuff back. There is an rr stamped on the bottom my dad worked for b-chain that made those big chains. So bob said let's make something for bradley! Bradley wore this at the national gallery opening which is sort of special.
This is jean tinguely who was a good friend. Bob had done some work with jean tinguely early on.
Tinguely did a thing in the museum modern art it was called "Homage to New York." It was a machine that destroyed itself and they didn't know that this was going to happen!! The things started to burn because bob made a thing that threw silver dollars and had gun powder in it in the spring. They had a timer and they it shot out. I think that museum director kind of got in trouble after that one!
This is susan weil. Bob and susan were married and she's the mother of christopher Rauschenberg. She's an amazing artist too, susan, i love following what she does. Bob would collect her work through the years, so i always sort of knew what she was doing because i'd see pieces that she would get this is kind of fun.
Bob was the artist of the year he was on on the cover of Time magazine. That's the picture that terry van brunt took, he was bob's companion. Terry and Bob were the first people that i met. Terry showed me around Captiva my first day, october 27th 1982.
They didn't say that i got the job they just said we want you to weld this frame up we want you to weld that frame up. So i just started i just started going for it.
Now this is kind of sweet this this used to be on the front of bradley's little refrigerator in her office it was near the time clock it was near her desk and she kept ice and stuff in it she also kept beer. Every once in a while she would i'd be leaving and she would say "have a beer with me. And she knew the beers that i'd like so we had a lot of special times. At the end of the day sitting there having a something a libation and stuff to talk about stuff.
Bob gave her the painting after the refrigerator died i welded up a quick brass frame for it this the title this piece is really sweet. I don't i don't remember, it is it has something to do with about on call. This is where we vacuum laminated saunders watercolor paper onto architectural panels. It kept it real flat and then bob transferred his images. These are all bob's photos and then we put three coats of uv varnish on top of it, afterwards. Bradley's work stemmed the tide through the years. She was with bob like 10 years before me so like in the early 70s she showed up and then she stayed. She was in that office with that typewriter doing her stuff. This wall is an edition, it's the lotus edition that ULAE did. It's it's kind of cool for me, the lotuses were done in 2008 7-8 and there was near the end of bob's life. After he had his stroke he had people that worked for him take photos which he would use. He lost the use of his right hand which was sad to see in the hospital.
He always had such a strong grip and i took his right hand and there was nothing there, He was crying. He had people that work for him photograph, and this this is a photograph i took when i was up at duke dropping my daughter off to go to college, and that's the same the duke garden.
I took these photos the parking lot was being repainted at bailey's the grocery store. So you just kind of kept your camera with you and you shot stuff that bob could use. He did pick stuff from his old photographs to use in these. Kevin potorff was the one the assistant that was working with bob on this series and bob would pick out image and his kevin put the rams head here.
It's almost like the matisse years where matisse had to use scissors because of his fingers. Bob had his assistant cut things out and move things around this and it's very much like the runt. This is the complete edition of the lotus series
Bill goldstein the master printer just wonderful. Now we're getting another edition. This is actually a ruler that's glued on. Bob liked to do editions that had additions. "I want to put this there," so that you'd have to buy so this so an edition of 25. Then they had to buy 25 little plastic rulers to glue on to all the pieces but sometimes it gets really complicated. This is a waterworks. The waterworks were a little bit different you can tell the wrinkling in the paper it's not laminated down i kind of like that there's an age to the paper and the way that the images are taken. This is a beautiful piece
This is urban bourbon. It's got a brass frame this is enamel on this color aluminum so bob was working on it. I suggested to bob that he worked on sheet metal back when he was doing ROCI mexico. He brought back some stuff from mexico and he wanted. I worked for a sign painter (previously) and i said, bob you can work on sheet metal instead of paper or canvas. Bob liked the idea and through the years Bob did lots of works on all different types of metal but this company that i found.
They do enamel on aluminum they did anodized, they did gold too. When bob got the colors it came on a chain a bead chain and all these little colors of metals, mirrors blacks, golds. Some of the colors were like pepsi cola blue, coca-cola red because industry would make stuff and they want to match the the american products. Bob looked at this color sample and he he named the series urban bourbons, because he was drunk on the colors. We bought a jump shears, so that we could jump cut the sheet metal we would have a night of working bob's big table, the 12 by 24. He would do little drawings and say put a red here put a blue here i want it eight foot by four feet i want it 10 foot by 12 feet and we would fill the table up and in a night. He would do six -seven works in one night if we were making cars and the works were selling for $220,000 a piece. If we were making cars 10 a night with just like four guys i mean it was it was camelot, it was crazy, and it was the best of times.
You know these these eyes have seen some of the best art ever and these hands have helped make some of the best art ever. And it's not about me, it's bob wanted it to be and i could help him do that. 26 years best job ever! This is an edition piece um this was done at gemini it's from the photos. It was done in the late 70s and it seems like what people are doing now with skateboards hanging on the wall. Bob loved fabrics, and the fabrics are glued out to the panels we've got bottle caps that are nailed onto the boards. He's got shapes he used this auto body ford color that he picked out to to do the surface. It's so Rauschenberg, it's it's such a unique connection to what's on the planet and what is art.
This last painting over here that's coming up this this is Bradley's Runt.
Now Bob normally work really really big,. The works that he did before this were called scenarios and they were double panels and they were all uh it's like seven foot by ten.
After bob had his stroke he broke his hip things there was times where he wasn't able to work well, and he started the series. It was about 2002 2003 and he he worked on runts until his end in 2008. The first one this was a vertical. Bob, from then on all the runts are horizontal, Bradley had the only vertical runt . The family, bradley's family and Todd Dupray donated this runt to the bob Rauschenberg gallery from Bradley's collection. So this this is going to live in fort myers, and it will be in the bob Rauschenberg gallery collection!
Thank you lawrence what a what a great treat to have someone with so much intimate knowledge of of bob's work.
What a treat to have you sharing this knowledge with us. So thank you. I hope everyone enjoyed these videos, this again was part two series. You can watch part one if you haven't seen that yet have a great day
I think that it is obvious that Bradley Jeffries was at the top of team Rauschenberg. Mrs Bradley Jeffries was the long time secretary, gatekeeper, and organizer, and she passed away in June of 2021.
I get the feeling that exhibition "Bobs army," is and this exhibit somehow informally marks the end of an era. With many of his collaborator retired, or having passed on.
However, we still do have one member of "Bob's Army" available. Bobs right hand man and faithful fabricator for 26 years was Lawrence Voytek. And Lawrence is full of passion about telling you about the works!
Lawrence Voytek was hired by Bob right out of RISD working 26 years until Bob's passing. Please enjoy this Tour, by the foremost expert on latter Rauschenberg works. This is a gift in your pocket at the Rauschenberg Gallery at FSW in Fort Myers, Florida.
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CLICK HERE to go to PART 2 of the Bob Rauschenberg art exhibition, A Gift in your pocket