Photo Art

10.29.13

A Collage in a Single Shot

The Daily Pic: Before Robert Rauschenberg learned to recombine the leavings of American culture, his photos had already seen it as fractured.

This shot, titled “Charleston Street”, was taken in 1952 by Robert Rauschenberg and is on view for a view more days in a show of his photos at Pace/MacGill Gallery in New York. There’s something about the way shapes crawl across the surface of this single image that reminds me of how Rauschenberg composed his composite works. Also, because the walking figures are a bit blurred by their motion, the details of their clothing get evened out into areas of more uniform tone – again, like some of the printmaking artifacts that Rauschenberg went on to play with. And of course this photo gives us a preview of Rauschenberg’s lifelong commitment to demotic American life: Note the man drinking inside the bar, and the fact that the dive is called Dixie.

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