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August 28, 2014 – January 11, 2015

Rauschenberg: Collecting & Connecting offers a fresh look at 34 works of art that the artist reserved in his own collection. The exhibition, on view through Jan. 11, 2015, originated at Duke in collaboration with the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation in New York. Two gallery pavilions organized into eight sections also include works from the Nasher Museum’s collection, many on view for the first time, with special emphasis on Soviet nonconformist and conceptual art of the 1980s and 1990s.

The exhibition also features 24 works from the newly acquired gift of more than 50 works by San Francisco artist Bruce Conner.


The exhibition includes drawing, painting, collage, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, fresco, assemblage, photography and film.

The function of art is to make you look…into your own life—see the secrets that are in the shadows, or in the way the light falls somewhere.
– Robert Rauschenberg

Collecting & Connecting

Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008) came to national attention in his early 20s. He was born in Texas and spent his adult life on the East Coast. In 1951, Rauschenberg began creating monochrome paintings, and by 1954 had developed his famous Combine paintings.


Notoriously eclectic, Rauschenberg worked in many mediums. He considered himself a reluctant radical, making change a constant in his art, and eluding the efforts of others to categorize his style.


Kristine Stiles, France Family Professor of Art, Art History & Visual Studies at Duke University, curated the exhibition with the assistance of Duke undergraduates Lauren Acampora, Katherine Hardiman, Emma Hart, Jacqueline Samy and Taylor Zakarin, who graduated with distinction for their work on the project. An online catalogue, featuring essays by Stiles and her students, is funded by the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation.

TOP: Robert Rauschenberg, The Ancient Incident (Kabal American Zephyr), 1981. Wood-and-metal stands and wood chairs, 86 1/2 x 92 x 20 inches (219.7 x 233.7 x 50.8 cm). Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, New York, New York. © Robert Rauschenberg Foundation / Licensed by VAGA, New York, New York.