Rauschenberg’s Stoned Moon Series in Chicago

May 5, 2011 § Leave a comment

Collector Stephen Dull with 3 prints from his complete "Stoned Moon" series

May 5, 2011

Sidney and I have flown to Chicago for one quick evening to attend the opening of Robert Rauschenberg Stoned Moon Series at the Joel Oppenheimer gallery. For the first time since its publication by Gemini in 1969, and for only three short days this weekend, the Stoned Moon Series – comprised of thirty-three extraordinary lithographs – is being presented in its entirety.

The Stoned Moon Series is arguably one of Rauschenberg’s largest and most beautiful bodies of work. In July 1969, Rauschenberg was invited to visit the Kennedy Space Center in Florida to observe the launching of the Apollo 11 spacecraft which eventually landed on the moon. From NASA, Rauschenberg requested and received photographs which became the foundation of the imagery in the series. Collaborating with the Gemini workshop in a marathon 2-month period, Rauschenberg added considerable rubbings and tusche-painted additions to the photoplates.

The exhibition has been made possible by Stephen Dull, an executive with the VF Corporation who has passionately assembled an in-depth collection of the very best American prints. Stephen approached Joel Oppenheimer, a Chicagoland gallerist best known for his authorative knowledge of Audubon prints, to conserve and frame the series. The result of their collaboration has resulted in a magical and memorable exhibition, one that allowed Sidney and I to fully comprehend the remarkable breadth and complexity of this series. Rick Axsom, Curator of Collections at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art and Rauschenberg authority, spoke briefly to the nearly 100 guests in attendance at the reception this evening, and we very much felt Bob’s presence in the room. After Rick’s remarks, we raised a glass of Bob’s favorite beverage, Jack Daniels, and toasted the man and this remarkable body of work.

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