By Thomas Frederick Folland
Robert Rauschenberg's painted, sculptural assemblages of came upon gadgets, photographic reproductions, print and upholstery fabrics have afflicted artwork background of their refusal to yield any coherency of shape or that means. Monogram , 1955-59, is likely one of the final of Robert Rauschenberg's major "Combines," and it's no exception: it really is an outlandish concoction that includes a filled angora goat squeezed via a rubber tire and status on a wooden platform of collaged fabric. it kind of feels to be, in truth, a shaggy dog story. The paint-smeared snout of the goat is attribute of the gestural abstraction of the hot York university, yet instead of flattened out onto an expanse of canvas, the brushwork is the outermost aspect of a really theatrical and heterogeneous assemblage of came upon items. may well it no longer be argued, notwithstanding, that this "joke" may perhaps in truth join a bigger problem to modernism that constituted whatever way more severe? That problem is argued in my dissertation to be a queer critique of the tradition of modernism within the postwar decade of the 1950s.
The higher target of this dissertation is to re-read mid-century modernism and its narratives that experience coalesced round this era. Navigating during the predominate strands of Rauschenberg scholarship, this dissertation seeks to problematize the principally postmodern interpreting of Rauschenberg, during which his work's seeming illegibility has lengthy been obvious as a critique of modernist illustration. however it additionally questions the new new wave of artwork background that has sought to find mounted buildings of homosexual identification in Rauschenberg's paintings via a conventional iconographical strategy. Mobilizing either the questions of illegibility and identification, Rauschenberg's creative perform is outlined queerly as a sort of resistance to dominant modes of subjectivity inaugurated during the painterly discourse of the recent York college. Weaving the tropes of decorativeness, theatricality and a camp aesthetic via numerous and overlapping groupings of Combines produced in the course of the Nineteen Fifties, Rauschenberg's modernism is redefined as a queer one.
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Extra resources for Robert Rauschenberg's Queer Modernism: Decoration, Theatricality and Camp in the Combines, 1953--59
A part of my argument in regards to the queering results of Rauschenberg's Combines is meant to undermine the essentialist claims of this formula continuing, because it does, via iconographic ability to spot a concrete homosexual identification via a metaphor of the closet. Jonathan Katz's argument proceeds alongside related strains as Rohan's and Wainwright's, in conserving that Rauschenberg's Combines "reveal" his "closeted" homosexuality to proficient audience via coded invocations of Fifties homosexual culture. fifty seven Katz's paintings on Rauschenberg is equipped upon previous makes an attempt to 'read" Timothy Rohan, "Rendering the outside: Paul Rudolph's At and structure development at Yale," gray Room 1, no. 1 (Fall 2000), eighty five. fifty seven Katz, "The artwork of Code," 189-307. the speculation of the closet, the most important to Katz's examining, has both sustained different readings of Rauschenberg that determine a coherently shaped yet veiled or hid homosexual subjectivity lurking underneath the outside. Wainwright, "Robert Rauschenberg's materials: Reconstructing family Space," as i've got indicated, has argued for a equally hidden or closeted id as has Laura Auricchio's "Lifting the Veil: Robert Rauschenberg's Thirty-four Drawings for Dante's Inferno and the industrial Homoerotic Imagery of Nineteen Fifties America," in "The homosexual 90s: Disciplinary and Interdisciplinary Formation in Queer Studies," eds. Thomas Foster, Carol Seigel, and Ellen E. Berry, Genders, 26 (New York: long island collage Press, 1997), 119-154, in connection with Rauschenberg's The Dante Drawings. the one deviation from those makes an attempt to at once equate the content material of the Combines with Rauschenberg's homosexuality is Silver, "Modes of Disclosure. " Silver's account is extra nuanced, besides the fact that a lot because it follows the subject matter of a "homosexual aesthetic" i've got previous pointed out because the argument of Caroline Jones's "Finishing university. " such a lot lately, see Paul Schimmel, "Autobiography and Self-Portraiture in Rauschenberg's Combines," in Robert Rauschenberg: Combines (Los Angeles: Museum of latest artwork, 2007), 211-229, which follows this biographical version, yet alludes to coded representations of a private existence even more obliquely. forty eight Rauschenberg coherently. It was once Charles Stuckey who first argued that the Combines will be decoded for legible content material in positing that Rebus, 1954 (Fig. sixteen) may possibly actually be learn from left to correct in anagrammatic shape as a sentence, his argument directed possibly opposed to formalist artwork heritage that had ruled the postwar years in American CO paintings. however, it marked the start of an iconographic flow in Rauschenberg scholarship that quickly grew to become similar to an curiosity in picking out Rauschenberg's sexual id via biographical logos. i am hoping that it truly is transparent at this element that my method is theoretically perpendicular to the positing of a sexual identification in direct relation to the Combines; "queer" as a method is politically against any unproblematicized development of sexual id, up to it really is against the transparency of that means advised by way of such an alignment of signifier and signified.