Cover Lot: Rauschenberg Lattice (Hoarfrost)
The cover lot for LAMA’s 20th Anniversary Auction [Part Two], Lattice, is a rare mixed media work from Robert Rauschenberg’s groundbreaking Hoarfrost series. This pristine example from 1975 is the centerpiece in a mini survey of the artist’s work that includes many of his greatest hits created at Gemini G.E.L. in Los Angeles.
The innovations Rauschenberg pioneered at ULAE and later developed at Gemini G.E.L. have become industry standards. Treating “the skin of the stone” as a blank canvas for “anything that creates an image,” he challenged himself to assemble massive collages of interwoven images and materials, starting with Booster at Gemini in 1967, at the time the largest print ever produced by hand-lithography. He printed on Plexiglas, clothing, aluminum, clay, copper; nothing was off limits, and his team of printers and engineers were integral participants in the experiments. In 1969, he established Untitled Press in Florida as a sort of lithography retreat for artists looking to collaborate with Rauschenberg and Robert Petersen, an artist and Gemini master printer. Visitors included Cy Twombly, Brice Marden, and David Bradshaw. During this period he began printing on fabric, which led to an ambitious set of paintings called Hoarfrosts, born from experimentation with cheesecloth used to clean the stone; the opaque cheesecloth preserved some of the images from the previous printing. Capable of applying eight hundred pounds of pressure per square inch, Rauschenberg’s giant green press, Grasshopper, could print on just about any material. The resulting collage and solvent transfers on cloth, including Lattice (Hoarfrost), are gossamer-thin fabrics loosely pinned to the wall, designed to move with the passing wind and interact with the environment. A similar example can be found in the permanent collection of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. Rauschenberg eventually brought the idea to Gemini and created more Hoarfrosts using exotic silks and fabrics.
Kotz, Mary Lynn. Rauschenberg/Art and Life. New York: Abrams, 1990. Print.
Davidson, Susan, and Walter Hopps, Robert Rauschenberg: A Retrospective, New York: Guggenheim Publications, 1997. Print.