Leo Castelli, the art dealer who sells Robert Rauschenberg's work,
commented, "Bob once wanted to be a preacher. He is a preacher still."
Does Rauschenberg have a message for his viewers? What do you think
it might be? Does he make conceptual Art?
Was Rauschenberg concerned with the formal
skills and techniques of art?
What is the mission of a social activist? Is it the same mission
as a teacher?
Do you think it is important to know the intended message of the
Use a piece of Masonite at least 16 x 18 in. as a base. You will
make a plaster life-mask of your own face using plaster cloth.
Working with partners, one will be the artist; one the model.
Then you switch places. Protect the models' hair by wrapping plastic
wrap around it and tie the plastic in a knot in the back. Protect
skin by applying Vaseline to the face, and putting round paper-towel
eye patches over eyes. Wear a garbage bag over clothing. The model
should sit in a chair with head back, while the artist will dip
plaster cloth strips (3 x 4 in.) into water, drip, and apply to
face. Avoid eye and nostril areas. The mask will dry in approximately
three to four minutes and can be removed easily.
Set-up for life-mask plastering.
Continue to plaster the life-mask onto the Masonite. Let it dry.
Choose a theme for you life-mask. Using the combine technique of
Rauschenberg, incorporate at least one found object in to the mask.
Add other visual expressions connected to your chosen topic. Paint
with acrylic or oil paint. Name your artwork. Extension: Study Andy
Warhol's social commentary by examining his silkscreen works. Discuss
what Warhol and Rauschenberg have in common.
| The mask on the right is an example of work done by
an 8th grader in Minnesota. The students in this class were asked
to research a culture, choose several symbols from the culture and
create a metaphorical mask that would deliver a message to the viewer.
This mask represents the "culture of adolescence" and displays headphones,
telephone, sunglasses, purple hair, a red heart and an open mouth
(left for the viewer to interpret).
Minnesota 8th grade
plaster cloth, clay,
Atkins, R., Art spoke, New York: Abbeville Press. 1993.
Benzi, F., E. Busmanti and A. Sbrilli, The History of Art,
New York: U.S. Gallery Books. 1989.
Brommer, G. F. (ed.). Discovering Art History. Worcester,
Mass.: Davis. 1988.
Carroll, N. "Avant-garde art and the problem of theory." Journal
of Aesthetic Education, 29(3), 1-13. 1995.
Fineberg, J. Art Since 1940. New York: Harry N. Abrams.
Forge, A. Rauschenberg, New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc.
Kotz, M.L. Raushenberg, New York: Harry Abrams Inc. 1990.
ROCI: Rauschenberg Overseas Cultural Interchange, National
Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. 1991.
Swartz, S. (ed.) Walker Art Center - Painting and Sculpture
from the Collection New York: Rizzoli Publications, and Walker
Art Center, Minneapolis. 1990.
that focuses on the idea expressed and the process of creating the
elements and principles of design (line, shape, color, texture,
balance, unity, etc.)
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