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Minutiae, 1954

Robert Rauschenberg (American, 1925-2008)


© Robert Rauschenberg / Adagp, Paris, 2006; Used with permission

Robert Rauschenberg (American, 1925-2008). Minutiae, 1954. Freestanding combine. 214.6 x 205.7 x 77.4 cm (84 1/2 x 81 x 30 1/2 in.). Private collection, Switzerland.

© Robert Rauschenberg / Adagp, Paris, 2006
Minutiae is the earliest and one of the largest freestanding combines that Rauschenberg created. It was constructed for dancer Merce Cunningham's ballet (entitled "Minutiae" and first performed at the Brooklyn Academy of Arts in 1954) whose music was composed by John Cage. Both men were friends of Rauschenberg's dating from time he - and they - spent at the legendary Black Mountain College in the late 1940s.

Cunningham and Rauschenberg went on after Minutiae to collaborate for over ten years. As Cunningham recalled about a set the latter created for the ballet "Nocturnes" (1955) in a June 2005 interview with The Guardian, "Bob had made this beautiful white box, but the fireman at the theatre came and looked at it and said, 'You can't put that on stage. It isn't fireproof.' Bob was very calm. 'Go away,' he said to me. 'I'll solve it.' When I came back two hours later he'd covered the frame with damp green branches. I've no idea where he got them from."

Minutiae is a combine of oil paint, paper, fabric, newspaper, wood, metal, plastic with mirror, and string on a wooden structure with a beaded framework.
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